GCC Compiler Toolchain Features
Various GCC compilers for Windows come with different features and which flavor of the compiler you end up choosing should reflect your specific needs.
Threads: Win32 / Posix
There are two major threading models to choose from:
- posix threads enable C++11 multithreading features. It will make your resulting executable depend on your compiler's libwinpthreads included Dynamic Link Library. As a result you will have to distribute that library with your executable. If you want to use standard C++11 threading then choose posix.
- win32 threads will not give you C++11 multithreading features.
Using one threading model or the other is not mutually exclusive, you can directly call each others API regardless of which model your compiler uses.
Exceptions: Dwarf / Long Jump Short Jump / Structured Exception Handling
There are three major exception models to choose from:
- Dwarf exceptions are very fast, but if your exceptions have to pass through Windows APIs/code then you could have issues. If your project is basically self-contained and you do not expect to throw or receive exceptions through Windows APIs then it is a good 32-bit compiler choice. Dwarf exceptions are not available on 64-bit compilers.
- LJSJ exceptions can travel through Windows APIs/code. They don't propagate through your code as fast as Dwarf exceptions do but they have the ability to pass through Windows APIs/code. If you need your exceptions to pass through Windows code on a 32-bit system then LJSJ is a good choice.
- SEH exceptions are very fast but only available on 64-bit compilers and not 32-bit ones because of a software patent. The software patent applies specifically to 32-bit compilers, not 64-bit ones, so SEH is only available royalty-free with a 64-bit compiler. SEH exceptions are both fast and can travel through Windows APIs/code. If you are developing with a 64-bit compiler then you should use SEH.
Install the MinGW Bundled Package
The fastest way to set up a working compiler is to install packages of recent GCC releases targeting the MinGW compiler system, from TDM-MinGW installer . The Code::Blocks team recommends TDM builds of MinGW.
If you want to download each packages yourself, you can follow the chapters below.
Using the MinGW installer
Note: At the present time, it is still best to download the packages by hand, as the installers are not production quality (unless you really feel unsure about unpacking a couple of archives).
Also, the installer reportedly does not work on Windows Vista, follow the manual installation instructions.
(In general, MinGW is not confirmed to work for any Windows Vista betas or RCs)
MinGW has been confirmed working in Windows Vista Business! Thanks to Aaron Giles' Solving the Windows Vista Build Issues for the solution. In summary, the MinGW folder must be "a directory immediately off the root of your hard disk for some reason. So c:\mingw works fine, but c:\tools\mingw won’t." (You can use mklink to symbolic-link the folder, which also works). Secondly, set the GCC_EXEC_PREFIX environment variable to the MinGW root folder. Finally, add %GCC_EXEC_PREFIX%\libexec\gcc\mingw32\3.4.5 and %GCC_EXEC_PREFIX%\lib\bin to the PATH environment variable.
A HowTo exists here
MinGW Installer 5.02 allows to choose the SF mirror while 5.03 does not (automatically picks one randomly).
MinGW Installer 5.0.x are broken because of changes done by sf.net; please use the MinGW Installer 5.1.x
Installers allows to downloads/installs "previous", "current" and "candidate" mingw packages.
Note that the MinGW version number is not related to the actual compiler version.
Note that the installer applications require an internet connection and will download the actual MinGW packages at the time of installation.
The required MinGW Components are "MinGW Base Tools", "g++ compiler" and "MinGW make".
GCC 3.4.5 manual install
This is the "candidate" release of MinGW, so it is not considered "stable" officially.
Personally, I have not had any kind of problem with this release.
To do a manual install, simply download the desired files and extract them all into the same directory. If you have WinZip, PowerArchiver, or any other similar program, this is as easy as selecting all the archives simultaneously and choosing "unpack here" from the context menu.
For clarity, I recommend to put MinGW into C:\MinGW, but almost any other locations should do equally well. Avoid pathnames with spaces or exotic characters, as this may confuse some commandline tools (most notably gdb).
Base system with C++
Ports of the most often used Unix utilities. Note that some tools in UnxUtils are quite a bit outdated, so make sure you do not overwrite already existing MinGW files with their UnxUtils counterparts.
More recent versions of commonly used Unix utilities. Also: utilities not found in UnxUtils at all.
- zip-3.0.0 32-bit or zip-3.0.0 64-bit
- bison-2.1 (includes m4)
Note: The version 2.5.9 of patch from GnuWin32 seems to have a problem with unified diffs
- less 3.94
- which 2.16-4
- pcre-6.4.1 (needed by grep and less)
- libintl-0.14.4 (needed by most tools)
- libiconv-1.9.2-1 (needed by most tools)
Resulting Folder Layout
GCC 3.4.4 manual install
Some people have reported various problems with gcc version 3.4.4, so it may be worth a consideration to use the either the 3.4.5 or 3.4.2 releases until a build from the 4.x branch is available.
Personally, I have not had any kind of problem with either 3.4.4 or 3.4.5.
Base system with C++
Native Java (experimental)