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Copyright 2006 Stephen Williams <>
Icarus Verilog source can be compiled with the mingw C/C++ compilers
to get a Windows binary that does not require the POSIX compatibility
cruft of the Cygwin.dll library. The resulting program can be run with
or without Cygwin, so this is the preferred Windows distribution form.
The configure scripts automatically detect that the compilers in use
are the mingw compilers and will configure the Makefiles appropriately.
The mingw patch doesn't contain tools beyond the compiler, but there
is the "msys" package that the makers of Mingw publish that has enough
extra tools to get most everything else working. There are a few extra
packages needed beyond mingw and msys, and the following instructions
explain how to get them and install them.
* Some Preliminary Comments -- PLEASE READ ME --
The Windows port of Icarus Verilog is the most difficult of all the
ports. The Windows system off the shelf is completely stripped, devoid
of any support for software development. Everything needed to compile
Icarus Verilog must be collected from various sources and stitched
together by hand. Normal human beings with a basic understanding of
software development can do this, but some patience (and access to the
Internet) is required. You may choose to print these instructions. FOR
NOTE that if you have Cygwin installed, it is best to not use a cygwin
window to do the build, as the Cygwin tools will intermix with the
mingw tools such that it is hard to be sure you are using the right
compiler. Thus, it is recommended that these steps be *not* done in a
Cygwin window. Use an MSYS window instead, and be careful that your
msys/mingw tools are not masked by paths that point to Cygwin binaries.
I have no plans to intentionally support MSVC++ compilation. Don't ask.
* Summary of Prerequisites
This is a brief list of prerequisite packages, along with the URL
where each can be found. In most cases, the specific version is not
critical, but these are the versions I use.
msys-1.0 <http://www.mingw/org>
msysDTK-1.0 <>
Mingw32-5.x <>
... including the sub-packages binutils, gcc-core and gcc-g++
if you are given the option. <>
bzip2-1.0.3 <>
zlib-1.2.3 <>
gperf-3.0.1 <>
bison-2.1 <>
flex-2.5.4a <>
The above table lists the packages required. It is convenient to
install them in the above order. Many of these packages are also
collected into the directory:
Incidentally, besides Mingw32, none of these packages are needed after
installation of Icarus Verilog is complete. These are only needed to
build the compiler. The Mingw32 package can be used to compile VPI
modules if you choose.
* Install MSYS and msysDTK
The msys package is available from the mingw download site. This is
not the compiler but a collection of *nix tools ported to Windows and
wrapped in a convenient installer. The msys package is all the various
basic tools (shells, file utils, etc) and the msysDTK is extra
developer tools other than the compiler.
Download the msys-1.x.x.exe and msysdtc-1.x.x.exe binaries. These are
self-installing packages. Install msys first, and then msysDTC. Most
likely, you want to install them in c:/msys. (The msysDTK is installed
in the same location, as it is an add-on.)
This install should be easy and reliable.
The installation will leave an "msys" icon on your desktop and in the
mingw sub-menu of your Start menu. This icon brings up a shell window
(a command line) that has paths all set up for executing msys and
mingw commands. This is what you will want to use while executing
commands below.
* Install Mingw32
The obvious step 2, then, is install the mingw compilers. These can be
found at the web page <>. The Mingw-5.x.x package
is a convenient remote installer. Download this program and run
it. The installer will ask which components you want to install. You
need only the base C compiler and the C++ compiler. (You may install
other languages if you wish.)
When I install Mingw32 (using the installer) I typically set a
destination directory of d:\mingw or the like. You will be using
that path later.
If you intend to compile VPI modules for Icarus Verilog, you
need Mingw32, even if you are using a precompiled binary. VPI
modules only require Mingw32, and none of the other libraries.
Finally, as part of installing the mingw32 compilers, remember to add
the mingw/bin directory to your path. You will need that to be able to
find the compilers later.
* Install Mingw32 Packages
There is a collection of precompiled libraries and add-on packages
that are intended for use with the Mingw32 compiler. These do not come
with simplified Windows installers, but they are pretty easy to
install by hand. Icarus Verilog uses the readline-4.2 package from
that collection.
Since I installed Mingw32 in c:\mingw, I also created a
Mingw-packages directory called c:\mingw-packages. The install, then,
is as easy as this:
<msys shell>
$ cd c:/mingw-packages
$ unzip
[lots of inflating...]
There is no need to adjust your execution path for this package as we
are only using a library out of here. However, do remember the
directory name, as you will need it later.
Done. On to the next packages.
* Install GnuWin32 Packages
The GnuWin32 project is a collections of open source programs and
libraries ported to Windows. These also work well with the Mingw
compiler, and in fact Icarus Verilog uses a few pieces from this
You will need these gnuwin32 packages to compile Icarus Verilog:
I suggest creating a common directory for holding all your gnuwin32
packages. I use C:\gnuwin32. The download page at the gnuwin32 site
has a "setup" link for each of these packages. Click the setup to
download the installer for each of the desired programs, then execute
the downloaded .exe files to invoke the installer. Install into the
c:\gunwin32 directory.
You need the binaries and the developer files, but you do not
need the source to these packages. The installer gives you the
After you are done installing the gnuwin32 tools, you should add the
c:\gnuwin32\bin directory (assuming you installed in c:\gnuwin32) to
your Windows path. The msys shell will pick up your Windows path.
* Unpack Icarus Verilog source
Unpack the compressed tar file (.tar.gz) of the source with a command
like this:
$ gunzip -d verilog-xxxxxxxx.tar.gz | tar xvf -
This will create a directory "verilog-xxxxxxxx" that contains all the
source for Icarus Verilog. Descend into that directory, as that is
where we will work from now on.
$ cd verilog-xxxxxxxx
The exact name of the file will vary according to the
snapshot. The 20030303 name is only an example.
Unpack the source into a directory that has no spaces. The
makefiles included in the source get confused by white space in
directory names.
* Preconfigure Icarus Verilog (Not normally needed)
Under certain cases, you may need to "preconfigure" the Icarus Verilog
source tree. You should only need to do this if you are getting the
Icarus Verilog source tree from CVS, or you are using an existing
source tree that you've patched to cause files to change.
NOTE: If you are building from a fresh, bundled source tree that
you downloaded from an FTP site, then SKIP THIS STEP. Go on to
the "Configure Icarus Verilog" step below.
First, remove any autom4te.cache directories that may exist in your
source tree. These can make a mess of autoconf runs. Then, generate
configure scripts with this command:
$ sh
This script will run the "autoconf" command (part of the msysDTK) to
generate all the necessary "configure" scripts. This will take a few
minutes. This should go smoothly.
* Configure Icarus Verilog
Now we are all set to configure and compile Icarus Verilog. Choose a
destination path where you will want to install the binaries. I chose
on my system the directory "D:\iverilog". This choice is not
permanent, so don't get too much angst over it. Just choose a name
without white space.
Now, configure the source to make the makefiles and configuration
details. Run these commands:
$ CPPFLAGS="-Ic:/gnuwin32/include -Ic:/mingw-packages/include"
$ LDFLAGS="-Lc:/gnuwin32/lib -Lc:/mingw-packages/lib"
$ ./configure --prefix=c:/iverilog
The CPPFLAGS and LDFLAGS variables tell configure where
the gnuwin32 packages are. The configure program will
write these values into the Makefiles, so you only need to
keep these variables long enough for the configure program
to work.
Your PATH variable was set in the previous step.
Use forward slashes as directory characters. All the various
tools prefer the forward slash.
Substitute your chosen directory for the prefix. This will cause the
makefiles to build and the source code to configure. The configure
program will detect that this is a mingw environment and set things up
to build properly.
(For a prefix, use the drive letter notation; the mingw compiled parts
require it, and the Cygwin tools should be able to handle it. You may
need to check or upgrade your Cygwin installation if this causes
problems for you.)
* Compile Icarus Verilog
This, believe it or not, should be the easy part:
$ make
It could take a while. Now is a good time to go get some coffee or
take a tea break.
* Install Icarus Verilog
If the compile ran OK, then next you install Icarus Verilog in the
directory you have chosen. When you are ready, install like this:
$ make install
This is part of what the configure program did for you. The Makefiles
now know to put the files under the D:\iverilog directory (or whatever
directory you chose) and away you go.
You may find that you need to put some of the prerequisite DLLs into
the d:\iverilog\bin directory. These include:
If you already have these in your Windows path (i.e. your system32
directory) then you do not need to copy them into the iverilog
directory. However, prepackaged Icarus Verilog binaries include these
* Running Icarus Verilog
Finally, put the C:\iverilog\bin directory in your Windows path, and
you should be able to run the iverilog and vvp commands to your
heart's content.
Currently, the iverilog.exe uses the path to itself to locate the
libraries and modules associated with itself. In other words, if you
execute the C:\iverilog\bin\iverilog.exe program, it will locate its
subparts in the C:\iverilog directory and subdirectories below
that. This means you can move the Icarus Verilog installation by
simply moving the root directory and all its contents.
The vvp.pdf and iverilog.pdf files document the main commands. View
these with Acrobat reader, or any other viewer capable of displaying
PDF format files.
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