Debian Interix Port

This is a port of the Debian distribution to Interix, aka Microsoft Services for UNIX (SfU) or Subsystem for UNIX based applications (SUA).
Here is a list with current hotfixes for SfU 3.5, SUA 5.2, and SUA 6.0.

Debian Architecture interix-i386 dpkg-architecture -qDEB_HOST_ARCH
Kernel Architecture x86 uname -m
GNU GCC Architecture i586-pc-interix3 gcc -dumpmachine

Status of the Interix Port

This port aims to bring the rich collection of Debian software to the Interix environment. It is in a very early state, although it is quite useful. Highlights are: A similar, much older project is Interopsystems /Tools with its great forum. There is also a NetBSD package manager pkgsrc port and a Gentoo for Interix available. More on Gentoo here. And Gentoo patches here. Another similar, but technically very different project is Cygwin. I decided to start this project for the following reasons:

Mailing List

There is a mailing list for general discussion on the Debian Interix Port available.

Installation and usage

Detailed installation instructions can be found here.
Currently available packages for Debian GNU/Interix include both the Not all architecture independent packages can be installed, however, as several of them depend on architecture specific packages which aren't (yet) available for Debian GNU/Interix.
Also available are

The debian-interix archive can be used with the following entries in /etc/apt/sources.list:

deb unstable35 main
deb unreleased35 main
deb dists/unstable/main/binary-i386/
In unstable35 those packages can be found which needed no modification from the official Debian unstable sources. In unreleased35 the modified packages can be found. The last line is for arch-all packages.

You should create the file /etc/apt/preferences with the following content to avoid updating arch-all packages to the standard Debian version when a change for Interix has been made. See apt_preferences(5) for details.

Package: *
Pin: release a=unreleased35
Pin-Priority: 800

Architecture details

debian-interix currently doesn't use glibc, but the libc (and libm, libcurses, etc.) provided with Interix. Although most of the X.Org 7.2/7.3 libraries have been built for Interix, there won't never be a native X server, as the Interix kernel doesn't allow access to the raw graphics device. The only useful X servers that may be built some day for Interix are the X11 VNC server and the X11 RDP server. You may use Interix X programs together with a Win32 X11 server, such as Xming, however.

Sources used by the Interix Port

The binary packages for the Interix port are built from the official Debian unstable source packages, with modifications specific to Interix applied, if any. The patches can be found along with the packages in the package pool directory. Look for *.interdiff.gz files. The build logs are also available there.

Tech tips

A collection of technical questions regarding Interix and Debian is available.

Bug database

I've set up a bug database which lists bugs in the Interix kernel and the MS supplied libraries.

Buildd logs

A buildd is used to try to build every Debian package whose build-dependencies are fulfilled. You can browse through the build logs of the failed builds and the build dependencies which are waited for.


My Perl script for backing up NTFS files.

Open problems


The following tasks still have to be done:



I would like to thank all people who helped improving this port, especially those listed here. Further help is always appreciated, if you like this port and want to help please contact me.

Initial version of this document (based on PPC64 port page): 2007-05-27
Last update of this document: Wednesday, 23-Dec-2009 03:13:51 CET

Copyright 2007-2009 Martin Köppe <mkoeppe 'at' gmx . de>

This text is free software; you may redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2, or (at your option) any later version.

This is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but without any warranty; without even the implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

A copy of the GNU General Public License is available as /usr/share/common-licenses/GPL in the Debian GNU/Linux distribution or on the World Wide Web at the GNU web site. You can also obtain it by writing to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307, USA.