Version 8 (modified by datallah, 12 years ago) (diff)

Add an example of the directory structure since people are often confused.

Pidgin for Windows Build Instructions

Set up your build environment

The easy way

(not yet available)

  1. Install the Cygwin Bash shell. Make sure to select Unix file mode during setup. Also make sure you install bash, bzip2, coreutils, gawk, grep, gzip, make, patch, sed, monotone, tar, unzip, and wget (several of these are selected by default).
    You may prefer to use the native Windows monotone binary available here.
  1. Download the Build Environment Fetcher script. Follow the instructions on the website to fetch and install most of the needed build dependencies. The script can fetch Gaim's source code from either Subversion or a source distribution; you will be prompted to choose which you'd like to use.
    Note that this script is sometimes out of date, in which case you will need to perform some of the manual steps in addition.
  1. Skip the The manual way, Install Pidgin's build dependencies, and Get the Pidgin source code sections and go straight to Build Pidgin.

The manual way

  1. Install the Cygwin Bash shell. Make sure to select Unix file mode during setup. Also make sure you install bash, bzip2, coreutils, gawk, grep, gzip, make, patch, sed, monotone, tar, unzip, and wget (several of these are selected by default).
    You may prefer to use the native Windows monotone binary available here.
  1. Install the MinGW "current" packages from the MinGW site.
    The easiest way to install these is to use the MinGW Installer linked to from the main site.
    Specifically, you will need gcc-core 3.4.2, binutils 2.15.91, mingw-runtime 3.9 and win32api 3.9 (or newer). Note that a bug with the MinGW site causes win32api 3.9 to not appear. You'll need to grab it from their Sourceforge page.
    You will need to set MinGW's bin directory before Cygwin's in your PATH.
    For Example (You can add the following to ~/.bash_login):
      export PATH=/cygdrive/c/MinGW/bin:$PATH
    You do not want to use any of Cygwin's build tools, with one exception; you need to use Cygwin's make utility. If typing which make produces MinGW's make utility, then just rename the make.exe in the MinGW bin directory to something else so that cygwin's make utility will be used instead. This shouldn't be a problem with recent versions of MinGW.
  1. The following instructions were written under the assumption that you checkout Pidgin from monotone to ~/pidgin and that you install all of Pidgin's build dependencies under ~/win32-dev (the point being that the pidgin source root and win32-dev directories should be on the same level).
    This can be overridden by creating a local.mak file in the ~/pidgin directory and overriding the various Makefile variables.
    People are sometimes confused about the directory structure, so here is an example:
    (The following is the source tree root, containing the config.h.mingw file.)
    (If the following file is present, your structure is probably correct.)

    TODO: post example local.mak

Install Pidgin's build dependencies


Pidgin depends on GTK+ 2.6.10 (newer runtime versions can be used, but building against newer headers will prevent Win98/ME compatibility). For your convenience, we have included all of GTK's dependencies in one tarball. Extract gtk-dev-2.6.10-rev-a.tar.gz within ~/win32-dev.
If you wish to run Pidgin from the win32-install-dir directory once it is built, you will need to make sure that you have installed the GTK+ runtime, and make sure that its bin dir is in your PATH.
Visit the GTK+ website for official binary and source releases.


Download and extract libxml2-2.6.24.tar.gz to win32-dev.

Perl 5.8

Install Perl 5.8 for Windows (I use ActivePerl), to C:\Perl. If you install Perl anywhere else, you will need to override the PERL and EXTUTILS variables in your pidgin/local.mak file. You will also need to install perl582.tar.gz under ~/win32-dev (Containing headers and import lib for mingw gcc).

Tcl 8.4.5

Download and extract tcl-8.4.5.tar.gz to win32-dev

GtkSpell / Aspell

Mozilla NSS

SILC Toolkit

Download and extract silc-toolkit-1.0.2.tar.gz to win32-dev.


Download and extract to win32-dev.

Get the Pidgin source code

The source for Pidgin 2.0.0 is available here.
The development source is available via monotone. See UsingPidginMonotone for more information.

Build Pidgin

Run the following:

$ cd ~/pidgin
$ make -f Makefile.mingw install

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

Build the Pidgin Installer

  • If you want to build the Pidgin installer, do the following (skip to the make command below if you chose to use the Build Environment Fetcher):
    • Download and install NSIS. Include NSIS to your PATH. For information on the NSIS installer, visit the NSIS website.
    • Download gtk-2.10.11-rev-b-installer.tar.gz and extract it to ~/ (or whichever directory you have the pidgin dir in). From within the new gtk_installer directory, run . (this builds the GTK+ runtime installer, which the Pidgin installer will include).
    • Download pidgin-inst-deps.tar.gz and extract under ~/win32-dev.
  • Now you can actually build the installer.
    There are 3 different installers: "Normal" (with GTK+), "No GTK+" and "Debug". The Makefile targets for these are installer, installer_nogtk, and installer_debug respectively. To build all 3, use the installers target.
    $ cd ~/pidgin
    $ make -f Makefile.mingw installers


There is a quite good Just In Time debugger for MinGW: drmingw. You can download it here.
You can also use gdb is available from MinGW.

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 2.

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

CC := /usr/bin/i586-mingw32msvc-cc
GMSGFMT := msgfmt
MAKENSIS := /usr/bin/makensis
PERL := /usr/bin/perl
EXTUTILS := /usr/share/perl/5.8/ExtUtils
WINDRES := /usr/bin/i586-mingw32msvc-windres
STRIP := /usr/bin/i586-mingw32msvc-strip

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.

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

Note: I haven't been able to get the NSIS installer to to build correctly on my 64-bit Linux system.

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