When comparing Cygwin vs Windows Subsystem for Linux, the Slant community recommends Cygwin for most people. In the question“What are the best collections of Unix libraries for Windows?” Cygwin is ranked 1st while Windows Subsystem for Linux is ranked 2nd.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Additional packages available via Cygwin Ports project
Pro Better default terminal
Cygwin's default terminal "Mintty" is far better than CMD.
Pro You can run graphical applications
It has X Server.
Pro Light resource usage unlike virtual machines
There's no VM overhead because WSL is not a VM.
Pro Includes common UNIX utilities
Windows Subsystem for Linux comes with common UNIX utilities such as
Pro Supports multiple Linux distributions
WSL supports multiple Linux distros, and you can use the distro's package manager (e.g.
apt-get on Ubuntu) to install other tools and binaries.
Pro Runs native Linux tools
Con Many incompatibilities
A lot of tools don't actually work with Cygwin, and documentation is often sparse, so for many use cases, it's worth the small bit of extra effort to just run a full virtual machine.
Con You can't mix and match installations - utilities added to the subsystem are only available in the subsystem
If you install node in the windows subsystem it is not available in windows only in the subsystem and vice versa.