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Debian GNU/Interix (Windows 2003 Server R2)?

Afternoon all,

Windows 2003 Server R2 is to ship shortly with a POSIX subsystem
(Interix 5.2 of Services for Unix fame) which "includes more than 300
UNIX utilities and tools that behave as they would on UNIX systems,
plus a software development kit (SDK) that supports more than 1,900
UNIX APIs and migration tools, including make, rcs, yacc, lex, cc,
c89, nm, strip, gbd, as well as the gcc, g++, and g77 compilers.".
Apparently future versions of Windows (eg Vista) will follow suit.

With a tweak of config.guess I have had no problems compiling
bash-3.0, wget, etc. on Windows 2003 and am now interested in tacking
some more interesting packages, like dpkg and apt, with a view to
getting a full port of Debian running on it. The problem is that I
have limited time and porting experience, and the fact that this was
previously attempted under Cygwin is disconcerting; the debian-win32
mailing list has been around for years and yet there there has only
been one non-spam post in the last 18 months according to the

According to http://www.interix.com many interesting packages have
already been ported over and are currently available for download for
$30 as 'Interop Toolworks 2.2'
(http://www.interix.com/InteropToolworks.htm). Presumably source is
provided/available - I have posted the question in their Unix Tools
forum as I figure this would be a good starting point.

While there's no X server included, the X libraries are and the new
release opens up the Win32 API which should pave the way for someone
to build one. In the mean time Starnet Software do ship a free 'LX'
version which will accept localhost connections only

At this stage I'm looking for feedback about the viability of such a
project, information about why the last one appears to have failed and
any suggestions about what the procedure would be (eg build dpkg, then
debootstrap etc.), how best to ensure its success, and so on. I would
like to think it will be possible to bootstrap a base Debian
installation (Debian GNU/Interix?) from an installer executable, or
possibly even deliver it via ActiveX, eventually getting to the point
where one can log into Windows and get a full Debian desktop complete
with your favourite window manager.

For the time being I'll be happy with bash, OpenSSH, etc. but it's
interesting to consider what is possible... SFU/SUA was meant as a
migration path *to* Windows, but there's nothing stopping it from
being a two way street.


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