Ned asks,
	>Is Cygwin necessary? Wouldn't it be better to build this without relying on 
	>Cygwin? Can't Ruby be compiled using VC++ or MinGW?

It can be, but you lose some features -- POSIX things like
fork and popen either don't work, or only work partially.
At least, that was the case some months ago.

Ruby was written for a POSIX/Unix envrionment, so with
just plain Windows, something has to make up the difference.

/\ndy