Kakoune on windows platform



I use kakoune for more than 6 month now and I like it a lot.
I never use vim anymore in my linux setup.

Sadly in my daily work I have to work on Windows platform and I still need to use vim every day.

It is painful to switch from kakoune to vim every day.

I would love to see kakoune being supported on windows so I could drop vim once for all. The use of ubuntu shell in windows 10 is awkward. A native port is needed.

One of the greatest advantage of vim over kakoune remains its portability.
Hope this can change on the following years.

thanks :wink:


Where Vim has a lot of built-in functionality, a huge amount of Kakoune’s functionality comes from plugins. Where Vim’s plugins are written in VimScript, which is part of Vim and works the same way everywhere, Kakoune’s plugins are largely written in POSIX shell script, which is provided by the operating system, and not provided at all on Windows.

You could probably run Kakoune fairly happily with a POSIX emulation layer like Cygwin, but Kakoune is sufficiently wedded to POSIX that a Windows port isn’t really practical.

On the other hand, in the same way that there’s a whole family of vi-style editors (including vile, elvis, and nvi besides Vim and the original vi), and a whole family of Emacs-style editors (including mg, MicroEMACS, ZILE, and XEmacs besides GNU Emacs and the original TECO macros), there should be room for a family of Kakoune-style editors. There’s already breeze, but why not start your own Winkoune?


mm it’s a shame.

Maybe it could have been possible to design architecture that keep the simplicity of kakoune while supporting the two major platforms which are windows and posix OSes.

The fact that most of vi users have chosen vim and not vile or elvis is because it is supported on majors OSes.

I am afraid that kakoune adoption will remain marginal because of that restriction.



Hello cduret,
You can look to run kakoune through cygwin by following this wiki :


This is working for me except that it take around 20s to start (I don’t solve this issue on my side yet).
Also tmux and so more can be installed with cygwin on windows.



I actually have a friend who is very shy but very smart who has been hacking at Kakoune on top of PowerShell (https://github.com/PowerShell/PowerShell). The idea is if Kakoune could run on top of PowerShell, and have scripts written in PowerShell – it would run everywhere PowerShell core does, which currently is Linux/Mac/Windows – probably could be ported to BSDs too (if not already happened). Also PowerShell feels a bit more modern as a scripting language versus sh.

Initially I was convinced this was a silly idea, but as he progresses and shows me some of the replacement scripts he is writing, I am more and more convinced he might be onto something profoundly clever. Sadly, the level of change makes it smell more “forky” than “extendy” right now.


Also PowerShell feels a bit more modern as a scripting language versus sh.

Angry Obi Wan



the starting time is due to loading all plugins.
I had the same pb I removed all unused plugins and kakoune started a lot faster


Very nice job !

It would be nice if your friend could write a blog post or an article explaining better internals of kakoune and how we could use a better scripting infrastructure


Haven’t tried, just putting my thoughts here:

Can you use the Linux subsystem for windows?

There’s a Microsoft Golang developer that I’ve seen tweeting running full i3 on a surface pro (@bketelsen).


I haven’t tried WSL myself, but I understand the “Linux universe” is still pretty isolated from the “Windows universe”, and things like filesystem access and process spawning can be surprisingly slow because it’s still running on the NT kernel.


yes bash in windows is so isolated from the windows world that it is pretty useless to use in my daily work.



Hello Cduret,
Did you try the solution of supermarin to have kakoune on Windows ?


I did installed already kakoune in bash subsystem but it integrates poorly compared to vim


How so? I’ve installed kakoune into WSL and it appears to work exactly the same on Linux, except for a bug where a Kakoune server gets permanently stopped if you quit the creator of the session before the clients. Given this works on Linux just fine though I suspect the bug is actually in WSL.


I used to run Kakoune on WSL for quite a while (an before that on Cygwin) at work, what kind of problems are you experiencing on WSL ?


no pb with wsl, kakoune run same as linux box.

But I still use vim on my windows 10 workstation because vim is well integrated in my contextual menu of explorer and I can drop files on vim to open it, etc…

I want native software on windows, that wsl shit adds impedence and slow down my productivity compared to vim on that platform.

Could you use for your professional work your win32 favorite editor on linux with wine ?


I guess we have pretty different usage patterns, when I was on windows, in the end, I was running a X11 desktop through WSL to avoid having to deal with windows… So I did not mind that Kakoune was not really integrated. I had written a quick .bat file that was able to run Kakoune in mintty through cygwin on an arbitrary windows file, that could have been added to a context menu, but I do agree with WSL this would be even harder.

Kakoune relies on having a posix environment around it, I am not sure what a native windows port could look like, maybe building kakoune in msys could work ?


You can do the context menu thing – https://github.com/mawww/kakoune/wiki/Windows-tips – drag and drop would require a level of awareness about the greater world of windows, so unlikely in the short term.

As for drag and drop, I don’t even think Windows consoles support drag and drop events do they?


I know a guy who uses Emacs on windows 7 in a VM. He installed Arch Linux in it, Emacs starts at login and is running full-screen without window manager. He uses shared folders to access windows files. I suppose if he would like to use Kakoune, he would do the same setup for it. It sure has some overhead but he says it works just fine for him.


Indeed console do not support DnD on windows, I do not use vim in plain console but rather gvim.
The cygwin experience is not enough, I will stick with gvim on windows.

cheers :wink: