Developing Free Software on windows

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You are a linux freak, but for some reason, you need to develop on windows. First of all, check Surviving on windows for a list of software to install, that will make you feel a bit more at home.


You can compile and link on cygwin, even use a XServer. The libraries are a port of unix libraries, with a unix emulation layer, provided by cygwin. The advantage is that it is very easy to port a unix program, since you don't run into any obstacle of windows.

The problem is that all your executables or DLL will depend on the cygwin DLL. Graphical programs may need the XServer to be running.


Mingw is:

  • gcc compiler
  • make
  • windows development headers for windows libraries

This means that you can compile a windows program with mingw. The windows headers will make your program depend on windows libraries, such as mscvcrt.dll . The resulting program or dll looks like a native windows dll and could be used by to link with Visual Studio.

Mingw does not provide any help to port a unix program to windows. It does save you the trouble of using Visual Studio.