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Pidgin for Windows Build Instructions

Note: These instructions are kept current for the development version of release-2.x.y branch of Pidgin. You may need to look at an older version of this page in order to build a released version of Pidgin. Alternatively, you may need the instructions for 3.0.0 branch.

3.0.02.x.y (current)<2.7.0

Set up your build environment

  1. Install the Cygwin Bash shell. Also make sure you install bash, bzip2, ca-certificates, coreutils, gawk, gnupg, grep, gzip, libiconv, make, patch, sed, tar, unzip, wget, and zip (several of these are selected by default, those in bold are not). You may prefer to use MSYS instead of Cygwin, but if you do so, you may need to tweak the instructions.

Alternatively, you may use the third-party script Pidgin Windev, which creates the development environment automatically. This tool works for both Cygwin and MSYS.

  1. The following instructions were written under the assumption that the Pidgin source will be extracted or checked out into $PIDGIN_DEV_ROOT/pidgin-<version> and that you install all of Pidgin's build dependencies under $PIDGIN_DEV_ROOT/win32-dev (the point being that the pidgin source root and win32-dev directories should be on the same level). Some users may find the instructions for customizing their build environment useful.

You don't have to actually define an environment variable called PIDGIN_DEV_ROOT, it is simply used here as a placeholder.

Note: You should avoid using a $PIDGIN_DEV_ROOT path that contains spaces as that can cause unnecessary complications.

People are sometimes confused about the directory structure, so here is an example structure after all the dependencies have been installed ($PIDGIN_DEV_ROOT is c:\devel\pidgin-devel in this example):

(The following is the source tree root, containing config.h.mingw and libpurple.)
(If the following file is present, your structure is probably correct.)
  1. Install the MinGW "GCC Version 4.7.2" packages from the MinGW site by following their instructions.
  • Set the MinGW gcc's bin directory to be before Cygwin's in your PATH.
    For Example (You should add the following to your ~/.bashrc file, which is found in C:\cygwin\home\YourUsername\ by default):
      export PATH=/cygdrive/c/devel/pidgin-devel/win32-dev/mingw-4.7.2/bin:$PATH

Install Pidgin's build dependencies


Pidgin depends on GTK+ 2.14.7 (newer runtime versions can be used). The GTK+ All-in-one bundle contains all of GTK+'s dependencies in one zip file. Download and extract to $PIDGIN_DEV_ROOT/win32-dev/gtk_2_0-2.14 (you'll need to create this directory).
Visit the GTK+ website for official binary and source releases.


You'll need gettext to compile translations. Download and Extract both to $PIDGIN_DEV_ROOT/win32-dev/gettext-0.17 (you'll need to create this directory).


Download and extract libxml2-2.9.2_daa1.tar.gz to $PIDGIN_DEV_ROOT/win32-dev

Perl 5.20

You'll need a functioning perl 5.20.x runtime (if the perl executable isn't in your PATH, you will need to override the PERL variable in pidgin/local.mak to point to the appropriate perl executable). A good option is Strawberry Perl.

Download the perl- development package and extract to $PIDGIN_DEV_ROOT/win32-dev (it creates its own directory). This is a subset of the full 32-bit strawberry perl zip containing just the headers, import lib, and source for perl.

  • Note: If using MSYS and you installed the mingw-developer-toolkit, keep in mind that it installs msys-perl-bin (Perl 5.6) which takes precedence over the newer perl in your path, and that will cause problems! The easiest solution is to set the PERL variable in your pidgin/local.mak to point to the right perl.exe.



Mozilla NSS

SILC Toolkit

Download and extract silc-toolkit-1.1.12.tar.gz to $PIDGIN_DEV_ROOT/win32-dev


Download and extract to $PIDGIN_DEV_ROOT/win32-dev

Cyrus SASL

Download and extract cyrus-sasl-2.1.26_daa1.tar.gz to $PIDGIN_DEV_ROOT/win32-dev


Download and extract to $PIDGIN_DEV_ROOT/win32-dev/intltool_0.40.4-1_win32

Crash Reporting Library

Download and extract pidgin-inst-deps-20130214.tar.gz to $PIDGIN_DEV_ROOT/win32-dev.

Get the Pidgin source code

The development source is available via mercurial in the release-2.x.y branch. See UsingPidginMercurial for more information.

If you want to build a release tarball, see the per-Version instructions.

Build Pidgin

Run the following:

cd $PIDGIN_DEV_ROOT/pidgin-<version>
make -f Makefile.mingw install

Now just wait and let your compiler do its thing. When finished, Pidgin will be in $PIDGIN_DEV_ROOT/pidgin-<version>/win32-install-dir.

Build the Pidgin Installer

  • If you want to build the Pidgin installer, do the following:
    • Download and install NSIS. Include NSIS to Cygwin's PATH.
    • Download the nsisunz plugin, and extract nsisunz.dll into the Plugins directory of your NSIS installation.
    • Copy $PIDGIN_DEV_ROOT/win32-dev/pidgin-inst-deps-20130214/SHA1Plugin.dll into the Plugins directory of your NSIS installation.
    • Now you'll need to decide if you want to sign the executables (not necessary for personal use)
      • If you do, you'll need to get an appropriate code signing certificate, generate a GPG key if you don't already have one, then download and install Mono. In your local.mak file (see below), define the MONO_SIGNCODE variable to the fully qualified path to the signcode batch file in the Mono bin directory, and the SIGNCODE_SPC and SIGNCODE_PVK variables to the appropriate files from your certificate. E.g.:
        MONO_SIGNCODE=/cygdrive/c/Program\ Files\ \(x86\)/Mono-2.10.8/bin/signcode
        #Set up gpg to use a separate keyring
        GPG_SIGN=gpg --no-default-keyring --secret-keyring /path/to/secring.gpg
      • Otherwise, in your local.mak file (see below),add the following:
        #Disable Signing
        MONO_SIGNCODE=echo ***Bypassing signcode***
        GPG_SIGN=echo ***Bypassing gpg***
  • Now you can actually build the installer.
    There are 2 different installers, an "Offline" installer that includes all dependencies (except spellchecking dictionaries) and the debug symbols and an "Online" installer that includes only Pidgin itself and will download the various dependencies if necessary. The Makefile.mingw targets for these are installer_offline, and installer respectively. To build both, use the installers target.
    cd $PIDGIN_DEV_ROOT/pidgin-<version>
    make -f Makefile.mingw installers
    When it finishes, your installer(s) should be in $PIDGIN_DEV_ROOT/pidgin-<version>/.

Customizing the Build Environment

Most people will find that the standard build environment directory is completely adequate. It is, however, possible to override the locations of the various dependencies and target directories. This is often useful to test against a development version of a library dependency or to override compiler flags.

This done is by overriding the various Makefile variables in a local.mak file in the $PIDGIN_DEV_ROOT/pidgin-<version> directory. This file does not exist by default.

Most of the variables that can be overridden with this method are defined in the libpurple/win32/global.mak file. For example, to install Pidgin over c:\Program Files\Pidgin instead of $PIDGIN_DEV_ROOT/pidgin/win32-install-dir, create a $PIDGIN_DEV_ROOT/pidgin/local.mak containing:

 #Override the install location
 PIDGIN_INSTALL_DIR = /cygdrive/c/Program\ Files/Pidgin
 PURPLE_INSTALL_DIR = /cygdrive/c/Program\ Files/Pidgin

One nice use of the local.mak file is for cross compiling, there is an additional example in the section below.


There is a quite good Just In Time debugger for MinGW: drmingw. You can download it here.
There is also a version of gdb available from MinGW, if you prefer.

Cross Compiling

It is quite easy to cross compile Pidgin for Windows on a Linux machine.

To begin, you'll need to install MinGW. On Debian/Ubuntu, this involves installing packages mingw32, mingw32-binutils, and mingw32-runtime. On other distributions, the packages may be named differently.

Set up a build environment as described above, skipping steps 1 and 3.

Create a local.mak file in the source directory root to override the Makefile variables - mine looks like this:

SHELL := /bin/bash
CC := /usr/bin/i586-mingw32msvc-cc
GMSGFMT := msgfmt
MAKENSIS := /usr/bin/makensis
WINDRES := /usr/bin/i586-mingw32msvc-windres
STRIP := /usr/bin/i586-mingw32msvc-strip
INTLTOOL_MERGE := /usr/bin/intltool-merge

INCLUDE_PATHS := -I$(PIDGIN_TREE_TOP)/../win32-dev/w32api/include
LIB_PATHS := -L$(PIDGIN_TREE_TOP)/../win32-dev/w32api/lib

If your distribution doesn't include a recent enough win32api, you can download it from the MinGW site, extract it into your win32-dev directory, and override the INCLUDE_PATHS and LIB_PATHS variables in your local.mak as I have done.

NSIS version 2.46 or greater is required to cross-compile. If compiling NSIS from source, the scons package is a dependency. This can usually be installed through your linux distribution's package archive. An example of how to install the NSIS package is given below (Assuming use of the NSIS 2.46 version):

.tar.bz2 file contains latest source
.zip file contains libraries

mkdir nsis; cd nsis
tar -jxvf nsis-2.46-src.tar.bz2
cd nsis-2.46
sudo scons install-compiler
cd ..
sudo unzip nsis-2.46 -d /usr/local/share
sudo mv /usr/local/share/nsis-2.46/ /usr/local/share/nsis 

If following the above instructions, the local.mak file (listed above) should be modified

MAKENSIS := /usr/local/bin/makensis

Once this is all set up, you should be able to follow the building instructions above.

Last modified 6 years ago Last modified on Sep 24, 2017, 11:21:42 PM
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