Installation on Windows

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GNUstep .exe installer using Nullsoft's [ NSIS]
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Install Windows GNUstep Manually
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= Install Windows GNUstep Manually = = Install Windows GNUstep Manually =
 +Building and installing GNUstep on windows is a "lengthy but painless process." Below is the detailed recipe.
== Install MinGW == == Install MinGW ==

Revision as of 21:18, 22 December 2007


Binary installer

Using the binary installer (created using Nullsoft's NSIS) is the easiest way to get the GNUstep development libraries to your PC. Unfortunately the releases are somewhat sporadic.

Install instructions

  • Download installers from the ftp site (i.e. gnustep-system-0.9.1-setup.exe + gnustep-core-0.9.1-setup.exe) and run them.
  • select install binaries

Now you have an MSYS environment (minimal GNU with shell and basic programs). You can start the shell via "Start → Programs → GNUstep Development → MSYS for GNUstep" and begin programming.

To start you could download the gnustep examples package:

svn co svn:// 

alternatively download the gnustep-example package from here and unpack with tar zxf gnustep-examples-1.1.0.tar.gz. To compile/run an example type:

cd examples/gui/GSTest
openapp ./

Have much fun!

Install Windows GNUstep Manually

Building and installing GNUstep on windows is a "lengthy but painless process." Below is the detailed recipe.

Install MinGW

Download MinGW (MinGW-5.1.3.exe or later) (cygwin works with a little tweaking; see talk page) from Install it into C:\xxx\msys\1.0\mingw

(where xxx is the top-level path you want to use, I use Nicola/GNUstep so I install it into C:\Nicola\GNUstep\msys\1.0\mingw)

Install msys

Download MSYS-1.0.10 or later from the same site. Install it into C:\xxx\msys\1.0 The postinstall script should ask you for the mingw location, then detect it and be happy that it's there and all is setup properly.

Install msys developer toolkit

Download msysDTK-1.0.1 or later from the same site. Install it into C:\xxx\msys\1.0

Now your MSYS/MinGW system should be setup! Go around and make sure you know how to use the Unix-like shell. Log into it and work in it.

Download gnustep

Via subversion

If you have a copy of SVN ( installed on your system and want to have the most up-to-date version just being worked on, do the following.

In windows, go to 'Start → All Programs → mingw → MSYS → Msys'. The MINGW32 window appears.

Type the following:

mkdir install
cd install
svn co svn://

This will download the core GNUstep libraries (make, base, gui and back).

Release tarball

Otherwise download from the main site (or the file gnustep-startup-x.yy.z.tar.gz. It contains the core libraries. Put it somewhere in your MSYS home folder, i.e. under C:\xxx\msys\1.0\home\Nicola\install

To unpack the file type the following into the MSYS window

cd ~/install   #or where you put it
tar zxf gnustep-startup-0.16.1.tar.gz

After these steps you have the most recent installation instructions in the file 'core/make/Documentation/README.MinGW'

Install GNUstep make

cd gnustep/core/make
./configure --with-layout=fhs
make install

Install the ObjC runtime

Actually, recent versions of gcc (3.2+) have a working libobjc on Windows. Nevertheless this step is necessary unless you want some strange errors concerning NSAutoreleasePool etc.

First make sure to delete the old libobjc files

rm -Rf /mingw/lib/gcc/mingw32/3.4.2/include/objc
rm -Rf /mingw/lib/libobjc.a
rm -Rf /mingw/lib/

Then get GNUstep's libobjc and install it.

svn co svn://
cd libobjc 
make install

If you don't use SVN, download gnustep-libobjc from

Reinstall GNUstep make (with ObjC this time)

Enter the core/make directory and reconfigure/recompile again so that gnustep-objc is detected:

cd ~/install/gnustep/core/make
make distclean
./configure --with-layout=fhs
make install

gnustep-make should have detected your custom libobjc.

Install ffcall

Download ffcall from the GNUstep website into c:/xxx/msys/1.0/home/Nicola/install or from here:, and type:

cd ~/install
tar -zxvf ffcall-1.10.tar.gz
cd ffcall-1.10

A windows prompt may appear (several times) stating that conftest.exe has encountered a problem and needs to close. Click the [Don't Send] button.

After much output, the following will be displayed:

configure: creating ./config.status
config.status: creating Makefile
config.status: creating config.h

Type the following:

make install

Note: The configure script of ffcall-1.10 is broken for Windows 2000. You have to apply a patch:

Precompiled library

Alternatively, a zip containing a precompiled copy of ffcall-1.9 is availabe here:

Unzip it into $GNUSTEP_SYSTEM_ROOT/Library.

Install additional libs

Download the following packages:

Download libintl

Download libiconv

Download zlib

from, and install them. To install them, simply unzip them into C:\xxx\msys\1.0\mingw.

Install XML support

Download the latest version of libxml from

make install

Do not install libxslt. It is broken on Windows.

Install GNUstep base

Enter the gnustep-base directory, and type

cd ~/install/gnustep/core/base
make install

If you didn't install libxml,

./configure --disable-xml
make install

Install additional GUI libs

for the gui, download and install the following packages:

Download jpeg

Download tiff

Download libpng

The process is always the same: download the zip file from the gnuwin32 website, then unzip them into C:xxx\msys\1.0\mingw.

Install GNUstep gui

Type the following:

 cd ~/install/gnustep/core/gui
 make install

Install GNUstep back

cd to core/back and type:

 make install

Check the installation

go in a simple gui application (examples/gui a very good starting point), compile and run it. :-)

Some older makefiles may require that you type

export GNUSTEP_MAKEFILES=/usr/local/share/GNUstep/Makefiles

before compiling.

based on a mail from Nicola Pero

GNUstep MSI installer created by WiX

There are three sub packages

  • user : To minimize the footprint of gnustep system on Windows machines.
  • developer : include WiX,gcc and package sources.
  • gnustep applications : include a broad suite of GNUstep applications.

Install GNUstep MSI installer

  • Download the msi from here.
  • answer following questions.
  • Test the installation.

Prepare your Win32 gnustep WiX packaging environment

List of depended software

  • WiX Win32 MSI package creation tool.
    • candle.exe
Microsoft (R) Windows Installer Xml Compiler version 2.0.4221.0
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation 2003. All rights reserved.

 usage:  candle.exe [-?] [-nologo] [-out outputFile] sourceFile [sourceFile ...]

   -d<name>=<value>  define a parameter for the preprocessor
   -p<file>  preprocess to a file (or stdout if no file supplied)
   -I<dir>  add to include search path
   -nologo  skip printing candle logo information
   -out     specify output file (default: write to current directory)
   -pedantic:<level>  pedantic checks (levels: easy, heroic, legendary)


For more information see:

    • light.exe
Microsoft (R) Windows Installer Xml Linker version 2.0.4221.0
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation 2003. All rights reserved.

 usage:  light.exe [-?] [-b basePath] [-nologo] [-out outputFile] objectFile [o
jectFile ...]

   -ai        allow identical rows, identical rows will be treated as a warning
   -au        (experimental) allow unresolved references, will not create a val
d output
   -b         base path to locate all files (default: current directory)
   -cc        path to cache built cabinets (will not be deleted after linking)


For more information see:

  • makefile for nmake.
  • gcc win32 compiler from MingW.

Checkout gnustep.wxs

overview of gnustep.wxs