Building on Windows from scratch

Geert Janssens janssens-geert at
Sat Dec 21 09:44:51 EST 2013

On Friday 20 December 2013 18:34:50 Gary Bilkus wrote:
> Hi Geert,
> If you're already well into solving the problem, I'd be very happy to
> try and help with that effort. I will take a look at your repository
> at some point during the next few days.
> Would you expect this to work under 64 bit versions of Windows, or are
> the other comments about this still relevant? I must say I'm a bit
> confused that some replies, like that from Christian suggest that it
> should just work under the right Windows, whereas you're implying it
> doesn't, presumably at least partly because the various needed
> repositories are out of sync with the instructions.
> Have I understood correctly.
> Thanks,
> Gary

Hi Gary,

I wouldn't say my work is solving "the" problem. And I didn't mean to suggest that building on 
Windows currently is not working right. I meant to convey it's more difficult than it should be. I 
presume just like Christian and Derek that the biggest hurdle is that the documentation didn't 
keep up with changing external dependencies (eg, which files to download from where to get 
started). I have a working test setup myself on a Windows XP machine for example.

Yet my observation was that it is currently more complicated than needed to build gnucash from 
scratch on Windows and I'm looking at various things that can be done to improve this.

One is to make bootstrapping as easy as possible. Requiring lots of manual steps only to start 
will scare away interested people.

Another issue is that we currently depend on a mingw configuration that's fairly old. Mingw has 
restructured its downloads, so our documentation has several stale links (as you have 
experienced yourself).

Not to mention that a more recent mingw environment solves a number of issues compared to 
the old one. It may introduce new issues as well, so before really switching we obviously should 
run lots of tests.

An example of an improvement in mingw is that it now comes with a package manager. It has 
its limitations, but if used correctly it simplifies our own dependency management for core 
dependencies, again making development on Windows less challenging for newcomers.

Specifically to your current difficulty to get things running on Windows 7 64bit, it may be that 
the 64bit part is interfering. I don't know because I don't have the environment to test it. It's 
true that standard mingw is 32 bit only. On the other hand it may also be that the current build 
system assumes permissions to do certain things it actually no longer has on Windows 7. We will 
figure this all out as we progress with the rewrite of the Windows build scripts.


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