Tor Lillqvist <email@example.com>
Hans Breuer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 Lots of information here might be misleading or outdated.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.
For prebuilt binaries (DLLs and EXEs) and developer packages (headers,
import libraries) of GLib, Pango, GTK+ etc for Windows, go to
http://www.gtk.org/download-windows.html . 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
- G_PLATFORM_WIN32 is defined when either G_OS_WIN32 or G_WITH_CYGWIN
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.
For people using Visual Studio 2005 or later:
If you are building GLib-based libraries or applications, or GLib itself
and you see a C4819 error (or warning, before C4819 is treated as an error
in msvc_recommended_pragmas.h), please be advised that this error/warning should
not be disregarded, as this likely means portions of the build is not being
done correctly, as this is an issue of Visual Studio running on CJK (East Asian)
locales. This is an issue that also affects builds of other projects, such as
QT, Firefox, LibreOffice/OpenOffice, Pango and GTK+, along with many other projects.
To overcome this problem, please set your system's locale setting for non-Unicode to
English (United States), reboot, and restart the build, and the code should build
normally. See also this GNOME Wiki page  that gives a bit further info on this.
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.
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 www.mingw.org. 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 www.mingw.org.
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 configure.ac
and libtool documentation.
Building with Visual Studio
A more detailed outline of building GLib with its dependencies can
now be found on the GNOME wiki:
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 win32/setup.py,
which will expand the VS 2008/2010 project files, the DLL resouce files and
other miscellanious files required for the build. Run win32/setup.py
$python win32/setup.py --perl path_to_your_perl.exe
for more usage on this script, run
$python win32/setup.py -h/--help
: https://wiki.gnome.org/Projects/GTK%2B/Win32/MSVCCompilationOfGTKStack under "Preparations"