Version 88 (modified by datallah, 9 years ago) (diff)

Use wiki shell markup - hopefully this is slightly more clear

Pidgin for Windows Build Instructions

Note: The instructions for versions prior to 2.7.0 are found here.

Set up your build environment

The easy way

Note: Currently out of date! Use the manual instructions.

  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, monotone, patch, sed, tar, unzip, wget, and zip (several of these are selected by default, those in bold are not). Be sure to add Cygwin versions of any programs you may use that require Cygwin path names (for example, if you want to use vim to edit monotone commit messages, you need to install the Cygwin version of vim -- native Win32 vim will be unable to read Cygwin-style paths).
    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 Pidgin's source code distribution; you will be prompted to choose which version you'd like to use.
    Note that this script is occasionally out of date, especially immediately following releases, in which case you will need to perform some of the manual steps in addition. The ChangeLog may clue you into which dependencies have changed.
  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. Also make sure you install bash, bzip2, coreutils, gawk, grep, gzip, make, monotone, patch, sed, tar, unzip, wget, and zip (several of these are selected by default, those in bold are not).
    You may prefer to use the native Windows monotone binary available here.
  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:/development/pidgin_dev 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" packages from the MinGW site.
  • There isn't currently an installer for these; the following instructions are distilled from the MinGW manual instructions here
  • Create a win32-dev/mingw directory and download the following into it:
  • Extract all of the above downloaded files directly into the win32-dev/mingw directory.
  • You will need to set MinGW's bin directory before Cygwin's in your PATH.
    For Example (You can add the following to your ~/.bashrc file (create the file if it doesn't exist yet)):
      export PATH=/cygdrive/c/development/pidgin_dev/win32-dev/mingw/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 into $PIDGIN_DEV_ROOT/win32-dev/gtk_2_0-2.14.
Visit the GTK+ website for official binary and source releases.


You'll need gettext to compile translations. Download and Extract both to win32-dev/gettext-0.17.


Download and extract to win32-dev/libxml2-2.7.4.
Download and extract to win32-dev/libxml2-2.7.4 (the same directory as the -dev package above).

Perl 5.10

Install Perl 5.10 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 perl_5-10-0.tar.gz under $PIDGIN_DEV_ROOT/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-1.1.8.tar.gz to win32-dev.


Download and extract to win32-dev.

Bonjour SDK

Download the Bonjour SDK for Windows from the Apple developer website and install it to win32-dev/Bonjour_SDK.

Note: it may happen that Bonjour SDK installs to its default location (Program Files\Bonjour SDK) regardless what you have specified during install. In that case simply copy everything from Program Files\Bonjour SDK to win32-dev/Bonjour_SDK.

Cyrus SASL

Download and extract to win32-dev.
(this also contains the MIT GSSAPI module)

Get the Pidgin source code

Pidgin 2.7.0 has not yet been released.

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

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 (skip to the make command below if you chose to use the Build Environment Fetcher):
  • 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 evironment 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. Note that cross-compiling does not currently work properly on Debian Sid on amd64 (also called x86_64 or x64) systems--the most common failure is that the linker will die with a segmentation fault at various points. You may have differing success or failure on other 64-bit Linux distributions.

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:

SHELL := /bin/bash
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.

If you want to build the installers, you'll need to install NSIS. On Debian and Ubuntu, the package name is nsis; this will likely be different elsewhere. In order to build the GTK+ installer as mentioned above, the script referenced above needs to be changed. The line starting with makensis.exe needs to be changed to read:

makensis -V3 -DGTK_VERSION=$gtk_version -DGTK_REVISION=$gtk_revision gtk-installer.nsi

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.

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