Cross Compiling wxWidgets Applications on Linux

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This document is still under construction by Jens, but I'm working on it. Please be patient.

For the moment you can also look here

23:42, 16 March 2008 (CET)

This document describes how to setup Code::Blocks to compile applications that use the wxWidgets toolkit for MS Windows from within Linux.
I tested it on debian sid, but it should also work on other distributions.

Needed software


You can download prebuild binaries Code::Blocks from the download page.

If you prefer to compile Code::Blocks yourself, you have the choice between downloading the sourcecode of the actual release as tarball from the official download page or to download the newest version via svn.
A guide to build Code::Blocks from svn can be found in the Nightly Cookbook.

The newest svn-versions are also available as prebuild binaries made available by users.
You can find links to the downloadpages in the actual posts in the Nightly Builds forum.


MingW32 is the cross-build version of the Minimalistic Gnu for Windows compiler suite (a port of the Gnu Compiler Suite for the MS Windows platform).
It is part of many linux distributions.

On debian the basepackage is called mingw32 and can be installed by typing

sudo apt-get install mingw32

at the command-line.
It's up to you to find out the name of the package and install it using your preferred package-manager or either compile it by hand.

wxWidgets cross-build

For debian-users I have made prebuild binary packages available on my server. I guess they are also usable on Ubuntu, but you have to try it yourself.

I don't know if there are downloadable packages available in/for other distros, but you can build it on your own.

You can download the source-code either from my server's software pool or from the wxWidgets download page.

Unpack the sources and type configure it with

./configure prefix=/usr/i586-mingw32msvc --host=i586-mingw32msvc --enable-unicode --disable-shared

The prefix depends on your MinGW32 installation, either does the host. The other switches can be changed as you prefer it, with oine exception (at the moment):
I wasn't able to build any application with the shred version of wxWidgets and to run it on MS WIndows. It only works with statically linked dll's.

You can see the available switches with

./configure --help

If everything wents right you get a message like this:

Configured wxWidgets 2.8.7 for `i586-pc-mingw32msvc'

 Which GUI toolkit should wxWidgets use?                     msw
 Should wxWidgets be compiled into single library?       yes
 Should wxWidgets be compiled in debug mode?          no
 Should wxWidgets be linked as a shared library?         no
 Should wxWidgets be compiled in Unicode mode?       yes
 What level of wxWidgets compatibility should be enabled?
                                                        wxWidgets 2.4      no
                                                        wxWidgets 2.6      yes
 Which libraries should wxWidgets use?
                                                        jpeg                     builtin
                                                        png                      builtin
                                                        regex                   builtin
                                                        tiff                        builtin
                                                        zlib                       builtin
                                                        odbc                    no
                                                        expat                   builtin
                                                        libmspack            no
                                                        sdl                       no

Now you can build the libraries with

make install

If you use my binaries you should be able to call wx-config directly.

As test you can run
wx-config --list

The ouput should look like

   Default config is gtk2-unicode-release-2.8

 Default config will be used for output

 Alternate matches:

 Also available in /usr:

You can see the cross-compile configurations starting with i586-mingw32msvc-msw.

If you don't see any cross-compile configurations you have to use the appropriate wx-config directly:

/usr/i586-mingw32msvc/lib/wx/config/i586-mingw32msvc-msw-unicode-release-static-2.8 --list

(The instruction may differ according to your configuration.)
If the output shows your cross-build targets, everything is okay. If not something went wrong with compiling your wxWidgets cross-libraries.

In the further part of this document I'll use the paths I used in the example configure-line.

Preparing Code::Blocks

If everything is installed you have to prepare Code::Blocks for cross-compiling.

Therefore you need a special compiler based on GNU GCC compiler

Create Compiler

  • Open Settings -> Compiler and Debugger ... -> Global compiler settings.
  • Chose GNU GCC compiler.
  • Click Copy.
  • Give your new Compiler a meaningful name.
Duplicate Compiler
  • Chose the cross-compiler.

Fix Search directories

  • Open the Search directories notebook.
  • Change the search directory for the Compiler to
Search Directories -> Compiler
  • for the Linker to
Search Directories -> Linker
  • and the Resource Compiler also to
Search Directories -> Resource Compiler

Fix Toolchain Executables

  • Open the Toolchain executables notebook.
  • Change the Program Files as follows:
  • C Compiler to:
  • C++ Compiler and Linker for dynamic libs to:
  • Linker for static libs to:
  • Debugger to:
  • Resource compiler to:
`wx-config --host=i586-mingw32msvc --rescomp`
  • Leave Make unchanged
Toolchain executables

One word to the debugger executable: there is no cross-debugger available in the MinGW-suite !
But for rudimentary debugging we can use the MS Windows version of the gdb-debugger avaible on the MinGW download site.

But debugging works not reliable, I think it's because there are some ifdef's in the Code::Blocks sources for the debugger-plugin dealing with differences between the linux and the MS Windows versions of gdb and the different application structure. Even if we use a MS WIndows executable as debugger, Code::Blocks believes it works on linux (and that's of course right) and is therefore compiled for the linux gdb.

There is also a real cross-debugger for MS WIndows applications available, that belongs to wine, but the syntax is not compatible with the one of gdb, even if it is possible to use gdb as backend for winedbg.

I will come back to the debugger and how it is called (a shell-script) later in this document.