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Re: [Gcl-devel] RE: GCL on Windows

From: michel . lavaud
Subject: Re: [Gcl-devel] RE: GCL on Windows
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 2004 09:11:55 +0100

On 14 Dec 2004 at 16:10, Page, Bill wrote:

> On Tuesday, December 14, 2004 8:48 AM Camm Maguire wrote:
> >
> > Greetigns!  Does Windows not recognize the ~ expansion in
> > MSYS?  If it does, and gcl is not picking it up for some
> > reason, I'd like to get the truename to work.  What about
> > (truename (si::getenv "HOME"))?
> >
> In MSYS ~ is expanded as $HOME = /home/username as you would
> expect in a unix shell environment. But being a single user
> system by design native Windows does not have any exact
> equivalent of /home/username.

This is true for Windows 9x (95, 98, 98se and ME) but inexact for Windows NTx 
5.0=2000, and 5.1=XP). The various versions of Windows NT are all multi-users, 
the extension / difference that there may be several "root" users (i.e. users 
administrator privileges), not only one. The exact equivalent of the HOME 
variable is USERPROFILE. But there is an additional environment variable 
ALLUSERSPROFILE, that allows to use the system as if it was single user (as most
Windows users are accustomed to).

> The closest thing to /home/username is perhaps
>   c:\Documents and Settings\username
> on Windows 2000/XP systems but the analogy is not exact and
> it is not used the same way by most windows applications.

Choosing USERPROFILE as HOME corresponds to allowing the user more flexibility
by using different usernames, as Unixes do. Choosing ALLUSERSPROFILE avoids
the user some problems that can arise from multi-users environment (e.g; 
accessible to some users but not to others).

Many commercial Windows applications use ALLUSERSPROFILE as HOME, probably
because this avoids the preceding problems. Among non-commercial applications,
some (e.g. AsTeX distribution) use USERPROFILE as HOME because this is the
natural choice for multi-platform software. Some others propose the choice at

Best wishes.
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