Compiling from SVN for Win32, using MinGW/MSYS

Compiling from SVN for Win32, using MinGW/MSYS

This guide shows how to compile a win32 FreeBASIC (compiler and libraries) using MinGW/MSYS and a win32 version of FreeBASIC.

Setting up the environment

Choose a place for the SVN FreeBASIC, for example C:\FreeBASIC. Then checkout the current development base into C:\FreeBASIC using an SVN client.

A working FreeBASIC installation is needed; this guide assumes it is in C:\FreeBASIC-0.21.1-win32, but of course it can be somewhere else too. It should also be possible to use FB 0.20.0, and maybe even earlier versions, to compile the current FB. The working fbc has to be in the PATH, or you'll have to specifiy FBC=C:/path/to/fbc manually when configuring.

The MinGW and MSYS downloads can be found on and their Sourceforge page. MinGW/MSYS are split up into many packages, representing the individual tools you might or might not need. The "core" (GCC, binutils, mingw runtime, Windows API libraries) can be found under BaseSystem in the Downloads area on Sourceforge. You can use the installer tool provided by MinGW to install everything, and/or manually download and extract the needed packages. Besides MinGW's GCC port, there also is TDM-GCC, which can be used instead of MinGW's GCC. TDM-GCC seems to be more stable & up-to-date recently, compared to MinGW's GCC.

The required MinGW packages in general:
  • gcc-core
  • gcc-g++
  • binutils
  • mingwrt
  • w32api
  • make

These are the packages used to make the FreeBASIC-0.21 releases:
TDM-GCC 4.4.1 (from
  • gcc-4.4.1-tdm-2-core.tar.gz
  • gcc-4.4.1-tdm-2-g++.tar.gz
MinGW environment with binutils 2.19.1 (from
  • binutils-2.19.1-mingw32-bin.tar.gz
  • mingwrt-3.17-mingw32-dev.tar.gz
  • mingwrt-3.17-mingw32-dll.tar.gz
  • w32api-3.14-mingw32-dev.tar.gz
  • make-3.81-20090914-mingw32-bin.tar.gz
  • gettext-0.17-1-mingw32-dev.tar.lzma (for libintl.a)

This is what the current FreeBASIC source code is supposed to work with. A more recent GCC (like GCC 4.5.0) might require extra work to get to compile FreeBASIC, if FreeBASIC hasn't been updated to it yet. For example, the libgcc.a from MinGW's GCC 4.5.0 currently requires libgcc_eh.a to be linked in, which fbc doesn't do yet. TDM-GCC 4.5.0 could work though, because it doesn't require libgcc_eh. Previous MinGW versions should work fine too (for example GCC 3.4.5 with binutils 2.16/2.17).

MinGW/TDM-GCC packages are supposed to be extracted to C:\MinGW, and MSYS should be installed to C:\msys\1.0. You should add C:\MinGW\bin to the PATH, so gcc & co will be found. If you add C:\msys\1.0\bin to your PATH, you can compile FreeBASIC from a cmd.exe prompt instead of using the MSYS shell.

In order to compile FreeBASIC's gfxlib, DirectX headers are needed in C:\MinGW\include, specifically ddraw.h and dinput.h. You can get the headers from here:

Compiling FreeBASIC

Open up an MSYS shell and enter the following commands. You can also use a cmd.exe/DOS prompt; then you might need to use backslashes instead of forward-slashes in the cd commands, and invoke the ../../configure scripts via sh ../../configure.

cd C:/FreeBASIC

Compile the new fbc.exe:

cd src/compiler/obj/win32
../../configure --enable-standalone
make install
cd ../../../..

Compile the new libfb.a and libfbmt.a:

cd src/rtlib/obj/win32
../../configure CFLAGS=-O2
make install
cd ../../../..

Compile the new libfbgfx.a:

cd src/gfxlib2/obj/win32
../../configure CFLAGS=-O2
make install
cd ../../../..

C:\FreeBASIC now contains the new fbc.exe, while C:\FreeBASIC\lib\win32 contains the new fb/fbmt/fbgfx libraries.

Making the new FreeBASIC tree usable

Several files need to be copied into the C:\FreeBASIC tree to enable it to compile FreeBASIC programs (and FreeBASIC itself again; those cases are marked with "for rebuilding").

From C:\FreeBASIC-0.21.1-win32 into C:\FreeBASIC\bin\win32:
  • ar.exe
  • as.exe
  • dlltool.exe
  • ld.exe
  • GoRC.exe

From C:\MinGW\lib\gcc\mingw32\4.4.1 into C:\FreeBASIC\lib\win32:
  • crtbegin.o
  • crtend.o
  • libgcc.a
  • libsupc++.a

From C:\MinGW\lib into C:\FreeBASIC\lib\win32:
  • crt2.o
  • dllcrt2.o
  • gcrt2.o
  • libgmon.a
  • libmingw32.a
  • libmingwex.a
  • libmoldname.a
  • libmsvcrt.a
  • libbfd.a (for rebuilding)
  • libiberty.a (for rebuilding)
  • libintl.a (for rebuilding)
  • libgdi32.a
  • libkernel32.a
  • libuser32.a

Now you can use C:\FreeBASIC instead of C:\FreeBASIC-0.21.1-win32 to compile FB programs.
You can copy more Windows API libraries (or others), if/when you want/need them.

Recompiling after SVN updates or changes to the source code

For convenience you can rebuild the compiler and libraries (or just the changed component) in the same directory as before, using the same commands as before. However there may be chicken-egg problems after updates to the build system or the rtlib/gfxlib interface. Building fbc first avoids chicken-egg problems between fbc and the runtime libraries, but not all problems can be avoided while rebuilding in the same tree. It is safer (but more work) to use two separate FB directories (one being a working FB installation, the other being the tree you want to compile).

Useful options for building rtlib and gfxlib


  • CC=<c:/path/to/gcc.exe>
    (Useful if not using the default from the system)

  • RANLIB=<c:/path/to/ranlib.exe>
  • CFLAGS=<gcc compile options>
    Useful to override the default "-O2 -g" and just use "-O2", unless you want debug symbols.

    You can pass these to the makefile too, but by passing them to configure they will be written to the makefile and you won't have to remember them the next time you're make'ing.


  • AR=<c:/path/to/ar.exe>
    (The AR variable is not forwarded by configure currently, so it has to be passed to the makefile)

Useful options for building the compiler


  • --disable-objinfo
    If specified fbc will not be linked against libbfd/libiberty/libintl. This can save a lot of trouble during compilation of fbc, at the cost of the objinfo feature being disabled.

  • --enable-standalone (This is always used for the FreeBASIC-win32 release)
    Build a standalone fbc that can run from the FreeBASIC tree. It will seek binutils and libraries in the FreeBASIC tree.

  • --prefix=C:/path/to/somewhere
    Changes the /usr/local prefix to something else. Only useful for the non-standalone build.
    For example:
    ../../configure --prefix=C:/FreeBASIC
    Then -i will install into C:\FreeBASIC instead of /usr/local (and fbc will use C:\FreeBASIC instead of /usr/local to find binutils, libraries and headers).

    Note: MSYS maps /usr/local to C:\msys\1.0\local.

  • --enable-crosscomp-<target>
    fbc will be compiled supporting cross-compilation for the specified target. To actually cross-compile something though additional binutils and libraries will be needed in the FreeBASIC/bin/<target> and FreeBASIC/lib/<target> directories. Besides, this may only work with the standalone build of fbc.
    For example:
    ../../configure --enable-crosscomp-dos

  • FBC=<c:/path/to/fbc.exe>


  • DEBUG=1
    fbc will be compiled with -g. Useful for debugging fbc.
    For example:
    make DEBUG=1

    fbc will be compiled with -exx. Useful for debugging fbc. The resulting fbc will be notably slower.

    This will result in fbc using FB libbfd headers to use libbfd directly, instead of using the system's C libbfd headers through fbc's default C libbfd wrapper. The FB libbfd header version must be specified, for example BFD_VER=217. The libbfd.a that this fbc will be linked against must match this version exactly.

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lynplexc/building_win32.txt · Last modified: 2011/09/08 16:07 (external edit)