With WSL 2 available for more than a year now I’m not sure it’s worth anyone’s time to figure out how to make things work with MINGW or CYGWIN. Windows now has a solution that Just Works.
I’m quite unfamiliar with modern Windows but yesterday I took delivery of a new laptop (ThinkPad E14 Gen 2, AMD 4500U CPU (Zen 2, 6 core, 4.0 GHz, 8 MB L3, no HT), 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, $735 including tax and delivery).
It came with Windows and though my natural inclination is to delete it and install Ubuntu natively I decided to give Windows with WSL (with Ubuntu 18.04) a chance first.
I haven’t tried Spike yet, but I’ve built riscv-gnu-toolchain and qemu with absolutely zero issues.
Performance is very good. 11m9s to build the newlib toolchain with arch=rv64gc abi=lp64d. This compares to 5m02s on my 32 core ThreadRipper with -j64 or 9m20s with -j6 in an attempt to simulate the laptop. That’s not precise emulation of course as the 2990wx has 32 MB of L3 cache (vs 8), twice the icache per core, 128 GB RAM (so caches the filesystem better), and -j6 doesn’t prevent a little assistance from other cores. And 3.0 GHz vs 2.3 GHz base speed.
I haven’t of course yet tried native Ubuntu on this machine, but it seems any overhead from the virtualization of Linux must be very small.
WSL is reasonably convenient. You can get into it with just “Windws-R bash”. In PowerShell typing “wsl qemu-riscv64” will happily run the Linux binary if it is in your Linux PATH (e.g. /usr/local/bin) and the Linux current directory is set to your Windows current directory, so it’s convenient to use Linux programs on Windows files.