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Tor Lillqvist <>
Hans Breuer <>
Note that this document is not really maintained in a serious
fashion. Lots of information here might be misleading or outdated. You
have been warned.
The general parts, and the section about gcc and autoconfiscated
build, and about a Visual Studio build are by Tor Lillqvist. The
sections about MSVC build with NMAKE is by Hans Breuer.
For prebuilt binaries (DLLs and EXEs) and developer packages (headers,
import libraries) of GLib, Pango, GTK+ etc for Windows, go to . They are for "native"
Windows meaning they use the Win32 API and Microsoft C runtime library
only. No POSIX (Unix) emulation layer like Cygwin in involved.
To build GLib on Win32, you can use either gcc ("mingw") or the
Microsoft compiler and tools. For the latter, MSVC6 and later have
been used successfully. Also the Digital Mars C/C++ compiler has
reportedly been used.
You can also cross-compile GLib for Windows from Linux using the
cross-compiling mingw packages for your distro.
Note that to just *use* GLib on Windows, there is no need to build it
On Windows setting up a correct build environment can be quite a task,
especially if you are used to just type "./configure; make" on Linux,
and expect things to work as smoothly on Windows.
The following preprocessor macros are to be used for conditional
compilation related to Win32 in GLib-using code:
- G_OS_WIN32 is defined when compiling for native Win32, without
any POSIX emulation, other than to the extent provided by the
bundled Microsoft C library (msvcr*.dll).
- G_WITH_CYGWIN is defined if compiling for the Cygwin
environment. Note that G_OS_WIN32 is *not* defined in that case, as
Cygwin is supposed to behave like Unix. G_OS_UNIX *is* defined by a GLib
for Cygwin.
- G_PLATFORM_WIN32 is defined when either G_OS_WIN32 or G_WITH_CYGWIN
is defined.
These macros are defined in glibconfig.h, and are thus available in
all source files that include <glib.h>.
Additionally, there are the compiler-specific macros:
- __GNUC__ is defined when using gcc
- _MSC_VER is defined when using the Microsoft compiler
- __DMC__ is defined when using the Digital Mars C/C++ compiler
G_OS_WIN32 implies using the Microsoft C runtime, normally
msvcrt.dll. GLib is not known to work with the older crtdll.dll
runtime, or the static Microsoft C runtime libraries libc.lib and
libcmt.lib. It apparently does work with the debugging version of
msvcrt.dll, msvcrtd.dll. If compiled with Microsoft compilers newer
than MSVC6, it also works with their compiler-specific runtimes, like
msvcr70.dll or msvcr80.dll. Please note that it's non totally clear if
you would be allowed by the license to distrubute a GLib linked to
msvcr70.dll or msvcr80.dll, as those are not part of the operating
system, but of the MSVC product. msvcrt.dll is part of Windows.
Building software that use GLib or GTK+
Building software that just *uses* GLib or GTK+ also require to have
the right compiler set up the right way. If you intend to use gcc,
follow the relevant instructions below in that case, too.
Tor uses gcc with the -mms-bitfields flag which means that in order to
use the prebuilt DLLs (especially of GTK+), if you compile your code
with gcc, you *must* also use that flag. This flag means that the
struct layout rules are identical to those used by MSVC. This is
essential if the same DLLs are to be usable both from gcc- and
MSVC-compiled code. Such compatibility is desirable.
When using the prebuilt GLib DLLs that use msvcrt.dll from code that
uses other C runtimes like for example msvcr70.dll, one should note
that one cannot use such GLib API that take or returns file
descriptors. On Windows, a file descriptor (the small integer as
returned by open() and handled by related functions, and included in
the FILE struct) is an index into a table local to the C runtime
DLL. A file descriptor in one C runtime DLL does not have the same
meaning in another C runtime DLL.
Building GLib
Again, first decide whether you really want to do this.
Before building GLib you must also have a GNU gettext-runtime
developer package. Get prebuilt binaries of gettext-runtime from .
Autoconfiscated build (with gcc)
Tor uses gcc 3.4.5 and the rest of the mingw utilities, including MSYS
from Somewhat earlier or later versions of gcc
presumably also work fine.
Using Cygwin's gcc with the -mno-cygwin switch is not recommended. In
theory it should work, but Tor hasn't tested that lately. It can
easily lead to confusing situations where one mixes headers for Cygwin
from /usr/include with the headers for native software one really
should use. Ditto for libraries.
If you want to use mingw's gcc, install gcc, win32api, binutils and
MSYS from
Tor invokes configure using:
CC='gcc -mtune=pentium3 -mthreads' CPPFLAGS='-I/opt/gnu/include' \
LDFLAGS='-L/opt/gnu/lib -Wl,--enable-auto-image-base' CFLAGS=-O2 \
./configure --disable-gtk-doc --prefix=$TARGET
The /opt/gnu mentioned contains the header files for GNU and (import)
libraries for GNU libintl. The build scripts used to produce the
prebuilt binaries are included in the "dev" packages.
Please note that the ./configure mechanism should not blindly be used
to build a GLib to be distributed to other developers because it
produces a compiler-dependent glibconfig.h. For instance, the typedef
for gint64 is long long with gcc, but __int64 with MSVC.
Except for this and a few other minor issues, there shouldn't be any
reason to distribute separate GLib headers and DLLs for gcc and MSVC6
users, as the compilers generate code that uses the same C runtime
The DLL generated by either compiler is binary compatible with the
other one. Thus one either has to manually edit glibconfig.h
afterwards, or use the supplied glibconfig.h.win32 which has been
produced by running configure twice, once using gcc and once using
MSVC, and merging the resulting files with diff -D.
For MSVC7 and later (Visual C++ .NET 2003, Visual C++ 2005, Visual C++
2008 etc) it is preferred to use specific builds of GLib DLLs that use
the same C runtime as the code that uses GLib. Such DLLs should be
named differently than the ones that use msvcrt.dll.
For GLib, the DLL that uses msvcrt.dll is called libglib-2.0-0.dll,
and the import libraries libglib-2.0.dll.a and glib-2.0.lib. Note that
the "2.0" is part of the "basename" of the library, it is not
something that libtool has added. The -0 suffix is added by libtool
and is the value of "LT_CURRENT - LT_AGE". The 0 should *not* be
thought to be part of the version number of GLib. The LT_CURRENT -
LT_AGE value will on purpose be kept as zero as long as binary
compatibility is maintained. For the gory details, see
and libtool documentation.
Building with Visual Studio
A more detailed outline of building GLib with its dependencies can
now be found in GNOME Live!:
Please do not build GLib in paths that contain spaces in them, as
this may cause problems during compilation and during usage of the
In an unpacked tarball, you will find in build\win32\vs9 (VS 2008) and
build\win32\vs10 (VS 2010) a solution file that can be used to build
the GLib DLLs and some auxiliary programs under VS 2008 and VS 2010
(Express Edition will suffice with the needed dependencies) respectively.
Read the README.txt file in those folders for more
information. Note that you will need a libintl implementation, zlib, and
If you are building from a GIT checkout, you will first need to use some
Unix-like environment or run build/win32/,
which will expand the VS 2008/2010 project files, the DLL resouce files and
other miscellanious files required for the build. Run build/win32/
as follows:
$python build/win32/ --perl path_to_your_perl.exe
for more usage on this script, run
$python build/win32/ -h/--help
Building with MSVC and NMAKE
If you are building from a GIT snapshot, you will not have all
makefile.msc files. You should copy the corresponding
file to that name, and replace any @...@ strings with the correct
value (or use the python script from
This is done automatically when an official GLib source distribution
package is built, so if you get GLib from a source distribution
package, there should be makefile.msc files ready to use (possibly after some
The hand-written makefile.msc files, and the stuff in the "build"
subdirectory, produce DLLs and import libraries that match what the
so-called autoconfiscated build produces.
All the MSVC makefiles are for the command line build with nmake. If
you want to use the VC-UI you can simply create wrapper .dsp makefiles
(read the VC docs how to do so).
Some modules may require Perl to auto-generate files. The goal (at
least Hans's) is to not require any more tools. Of course you need
the Microsoft Platform SDK in a recent enough - but not too recent - version.
The last PSDK for Visual Studio 6 is:
At least install the Core SDK, maybe also the "Tablet PC SDK".
Build with:
nmake -f makefile.msc
nmake -f makefile.msc DEBUG=1
The former will create 'release' versions of the DLLs. If you
plan to distribute you DLLs please use this command. The latter
will create DLLs with debug information _and_ link them with
msvcrtd.dll instead of msvcrt.dll.
Beware: There are known problems with mixing DLLs in one
application, which are build against different runtimes.
Especially the index-to-file mapping used by 'unix-style' file
operation - _open() _pipe() etc. - breaks sometimes in strange
ways (for example the Gimp plug-in communication).
Required libraries (not build from svn)
libintl (gnu-intl),
are available pre-built from the website mentioned above.
Instead of the Unix and auto* way of tracking versions and resolving
dependencies (configure; make; make install) involving autoconf,
automake, libtool and friends the MSVC build uses a different
The core of it's versioning is the file build/win32/module.defs.
It contains entries of the form MODULE_VER, e.g.:
GLIB_VER = 2.0
and the placement of these modules defined as MODULE, e.g.:
GLIB = $(TOP)/glib
whereas TOP is defined as the relative path from the respective
module directory to your top build directory. Every makefile.msc
needs to define TOP before including the common make file part
make.msc, which than includes module.defs, like:
TOP = ../..
!INCLUDE $(TOP)/glib/build/win32/make.msc
(Taken from gtk+/gdk/makefile.msc)
With this provision it is possible to create almost placement
independent makefiles without requiring to 'install' the libraries and
headers into a common place (as it is done on Unix, and as Tor does
when producing his zipfiles with prebuilt GLib, GTK+ etc).
Special Files
------------- : @XXX_MAJOR_VERSION@ needs to be replaced by
the current version/build number. The resulting file is to be saved
as 'config.h.win32'. This should be automatically done if a package
gets build on the Unix platform. : @XXX_MAJOR_VERSION@ to be replaced. Save as
<module>.def : every function which should be used from the outside of
a dll needs to be marked for 'export'. It is common that one needs to change
these files after some api changes occured. If there are variables to be
exported another mechanism is needed, like :
#ifdef G_OS_WIN32
# define GDKVAR __declspec(dllexport)
# else
# define GDKVAR extern __declspec(dllimport)
# endif
# define GDKVAR extern
Directory Structure
all modules should be build in a common directory tree otherwise you
need to adapt the file 'module.defs'. They are listed here in increasing
dependencies order.
<common rootdir without spaces>
+- glib
| |
| +- build : [this module lives in the SVN root dir]
| | +- win32
| | .\module.defs : defines (relative) locations of the headers
| | and libs and version numbers to be include
| | in dll names
| | .\make.msc : include by almost every 'makefile.msc'
| |
| | .\README.WIN32 : more information how to build
| | .\ : similar to
| | .\makefile.msc : master makefile, sub dir makefiles should work
| |
| +- glib
| +- gmodule
| +- gthread : does _not_ depend on pthread anymore
| +- gobject
+- pango
| +- pango : 'native' build does not require extra libs and
| | includes the minimal required text renderer
| | (there is also a currently slightly broken FreeType2
| | based implementation for win32)
| +- modules (not yet build)
+- atk
| +- atk
| .\makefile.msc : build here
+- gtk+
| | .\config.h.win32 : for all the below
| |
| +- gdk-pixbuf
| | .\ : version resource for the DLLs. Needs
| | to be converted (filled with version info)
| | as described above.
| |
| +- gdk
| | | .\makefile.msc : some auto-generation is needed to build in the
| | | in the subdirectory
| | +- win32
| |
| +- gtk
+- gimp
| .\makefile.msc : master makefile to build The Gimp. The makefiles
| from the sub dirs should work stand alone, but than
| the user needs to know the build order
+- dia : additionally depends on libart_lgpl (in SVN)
| and libxml2 ( see )
+- lib
+- app
+- objects
+- plug-ins
+- python
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