This section gives detailed instructions for how to build GHC from source on your Windows machine. Similar instructions for installing and running GHC may be found in the user guide. In general, Win95/Win98 behave the same, and WinNT/Win2k behave the same.
Make sure you read the preceding section on platforms (Section 11, “Platforms, scripts, and file names”) before reading section. You don't need Cygwin or MSYS to use GHC, but you do need one or the other to build GHC.
MSYS is a lightweight alternative to Cygwin. You don't need MSYS to use GHC, but you do need it or Cygwin to build GHC. Here's how to install MSYS.
Go to http://www.mingw.org/download.shtml and download the following (of course, the version numbers will differ):
The main MSYS package (binary is sufficient):
The MSYS developer's toolkit (binary is sufficient):
This provides make, autoconf,
ssh and probably more besides.
Run both executables (in the order given above) to install them. I put them in
Set the following environment variables
to your path. (Of course, the version number may differ.)
MSYS mounts the former as both
/usr/bin and the latter as
HOME: set to your home directory (e.g.
This is where, among other things, ssh will look for your
SHELL: set to
CVS_RSH: set to
c:/msys/1.0/bin/ssh.exe. Only necessary if
you are using CVS.
MAKE_MODE: set to
UNIX. (I'm not certain this is necessary for MSYS.)
Check that the
CYGWIN environment variable is not set. It's a bad bug
that MSYS is affected by this, but if you have CYGWIN set to "ntsec ntea", which is right for Cygwin, it
causes the MSYS ssh to bogusly fail complaining that your
file has too-liberal permissinos.
Here are some points to bear in mind when using MSYS:
MSYS does some kind of special magic to binaries stored in
/usr/bin, which are by default both mapped
c:/msys/1.0/bin (assuming you installed MSYS in
Do not put any other binaries (such as GHC or Alex) in this directory or its sub-directories:
they fail in mysterious ways. However, it's fine to put other binaries in
which maps to
MSYS seems to implement symbolic links by copying, so sharing is lost.
Win32 has a find command which is not the same as MSYS's find.
You will probably discover that the Win32 find appears in your
before the MSYS one, because it's in the system
environment variable, whereas you have probably modified the user
variable. You can always invoke find with an absolute path, or rename it.
MSYS comes with bzip, and MSYS's tar's
will bunzip an archive (e.g.
tar xvjf foo.tar.bz2). Useful when you get a
Install Cygwin from http://www.cygwin.com/.
The installation process is straightforward; we install it in
You must install enough Cygwin packages to support building GHC. If you miss out any of these, strange things will happen to you. There are two ways to do this:
The direct, but laborious way is to select all of the following packages in the installation dialogue: cvs, openssh, autoconf, binutils (includes ld and (I think) ar), gcc, flex, make. To see thse packages, click on the "View" button in the "Select Packages" stage of Cygwin's installation dialogue, until the view says "Full". The default view, which is "Category" isn't very helpful, and the "View" button is rather unobtrousive.
The clever way is to point the Cygwin installer at the ghc-depends package, which is kept at http://haskell.org/ghc/cygwin. When the Cygwin installer asks you to "Choose a Download Site", choose one of the offered mirror sites; and then type "http://haskell.org/ghc/cygwin" into the "User URL" box and click "Add"; now two sites are selected. (The Cygwin installer remembers this for next time.) Click "Next".
In the "Select Packages" dialogue box that follows, click the "+" sign by "Devel", scroll down to the end of the "Devel" packages, and choose ghc-depends. The package ghc-depends will not actually install anything itself, but forces additional packages to be added by the Cygwin installer.
Now set the following user environment variables:
c:/cygwin/usr/bin to your
UNIX. If you
don't do this you get very weird messages when you type
make, such as:
/c: /c: No such file or directory
c:/cygwin/bin/bash. When you invoke a shell in Emacs, this
SHELL is what you get.
HOME to point to your
home directory. This is where, for example,
bash will look for your
file. Ditto emacs looking for
Here are some things to be aware of when using Cygwin:
Cygwin doesn't deal well with filenames that include
Program Files" and "
Local files" are
Cygwin implements a symbolic link as a text file with some magical text in it. So other programs that don't use Cygwin's I/O libraries won't recognise such files as symlinks. In particular, programs compiled by GHC are meant to be runnable without having Cygwin, so they don't use the Cygwin library, so they don't recognise symlinks.
See the notes in Section 12.1, “Installing and configuring MSYS” about find and bzip, which apply to Cygwin too.
Some script files used in the make system start with "#!/bin/perl",
(and similarly for sh). Notice the hardwired path!
So you need to ensure that your
/bin directory has at least
sh, perl, and cat in it.
All these come in Cygwin's
bin directory, which you probably have
c:/cygwin/bin. By default Cygwin mounts "
c:/cygwin, so if you just take the defaults it'll all work ok.
(You can discover where your Cygwin
/ is by typing mount.)
/bin points to the Cygwin
directory, there's no need to copy anything. If not, copy these binaries from the
directory (after fixing the
sh.exe stuff mentioned in the previous bullet).
By default, cygwin provides the command shell
sh.exe. It seems to be fine now, but in the past we
saw build-system problems that turned out to be due to bugs in
(to do with quoting and length of command lines). On the other hand
to be rock solid.
If this happens to you (which it shouldn't), in
remove the supplied
sh.exe (or rename it as
You'll need to do this in Windows Explorer or the Windows cmd shell, because
you can't rename a running program!
ssh comes with both Cygwin and MSYS. (Cygwin note: you need to ask for package openssh (not ssh) in the Cygwin list of packages; or use the ghc-depends package -- see Section 12.2, “Installing and configuring Cygwin”.)
There are several strange things about ssh on Windows that you need to know.
The programs ssh-keygen1, ssh1, and cvs,
seem to lock up bash entirely if they try to get user input (e.g. if
they ask for a password). To solve this, start up
and run it as follows:
c:\tmp> set CYGWIN32=tty c:\tmp> c:/user/local/bin/ssh-keygen1
(Cygwin-only problem, I think.)
ssh needs to access your directory
.ssh, in your home directory.
To determine your home directory ssh first looks in
c:/cygwin/etc/passwd (or wherever you have Cygwin installed). If there's an entry
there with your userid, it'll use that entry to determine your home directory, ignoring
the setting of the environment variable $HOME. If the home directory is
bogus, ssh fails horribly. The best way to see what is going on is to say
ssh -v cvs.haskell.org
which makes ssh print out information about its activity.
You can fix this problem, either by correcting the home-directory field in
c:/cygwin/etc/passwd, or by simply deleting the entire entry for your userid. If
you do that, ssh uses the $HOME environment variable instead.
To protect your
.ssh from access by anyone else,
.ssh directory, and
Properties. If you are not on
the access control list, add yourself, and give yourself
full permissions (the second panel). Remove everyone else
from the access control list. Don't leave them there but
deny them access, because 'they' may be a list that
In fact ssh 3.6.1 now seems to require
you to have Unix permissions 600 (read/write for owner only)
.ssh/identity file, else it
bombs out. For your local C drive, it seems that
chmod 600 identity works,
but on Windows NT/XP, it doesn't work on a network drive (exact dteails obscure).
The solution seems to be to set the $CYGWIN environment
variable to "
ntsec neta". The $CYGWIN environment variable is discussed
in the Cygwin User's Guide,
and there are more details in the Cygwin FAQ.
You have to install the following other things to build GHC, listed below.
On Windows you often install executables in directories with spaces, such as
Program Files". However, the
make system doesn't
deal with this situation (it'd have to do more quoting of binaries), so you are strongly advised
to put binaries for all tools in places with no spaces in their path.
On both MSYS and Cygwin, it's perfectly OK to install such programs in the standard Unixy places,
/usr/local/lib. But it doesn't matter,
provided they are in your path.
Install an executable GHC, from http://www.haskell.org/ghc.
This is what you will use to compile GHC. Add it in your
PATH: the installer tells you the path element
you need to add upon completion.
Install an executable Happy, from http://www.haskell.org/happy. Happy is a parser generator used to compile the Haskell grammar. Under MSYS or Cygwin you can easily build it from the source distribution using
$ ./configure $ make $ make install
This should install it in
/usr/local/bin (which maps to
Make sure the installation directory is in your
Install an executable Alex. This can be done by building from the source distribution in the same way as Happy. Sources are available from http://www.haskell.org/alex.
GHC uses the mingw C compiler to
generate code, so you have to install that (see Section 11.1, “Windows platforms: Cygwin, MSYS, and MinGW”).
Just pick up a mingw bundle at
We install it in
On MSYS, add
c:/mingw/bin to your PATH. MSYS does not provide gcc,
ld, ar, and so on, because it just uses the MinGW ones. So you need them
in your path.
On Cygwin, do not add any of the mingw binaries to your path. They are only going to get used by explicit access (via the --with-gcc flag you give to configure later). If you do add them to your path you are likely to get into a mess because their names overlap with Cygwin binaries. On the other hand, you do need ld, ar (and perhaps one or two other things) in your path. The Cygwin ones are fine, but you must have them; hence needing the Cygwin binutils package.
We use emacs a lot, so we install that too.
When you are in
$(GHC_TOP)/compiler, you can use
make tags" to make a TAGS file for emacs. That uses the utility
$(GHC_TOP)/ghc/utils/hasktags/hasktags, so you need to make that first.
The most convenient way to do this is by going
make boot in
make tags command also uses etags, which comes with emacs,
so you will need to add
emacs/bin to your
You might want to install GLUT in your MSYS/Cygwin installation, otherwise the GLUT package will not be built with GHC.
Finally, check out a copy of GHC sources from the darcs repository, following the instructions at http://hackage.haskell.org/trac/ghc/wiki/GhcDarcs.
OK! Now go read the documentation above on building from source (Section 4, “Building from source”); the bullets below only tell you about Windows-specific wrinkles.
If you used autoconf instead of autoreconf,
you'll get an error when you run
...lots of stuff... creating mk/config.h mk/config.h is unchanged configuring in ghc running /bin/sh ./configure --cache-file=.././config.cache --srcdir=. ./configure: ./configure: No such file or directory configure: error: ./configure failed for ghc
autoreconf seems to create the file
read-only. So if you need to run autoreconf again (which I sometimes do for safety's sake),
/usr/bin/autoconf: cannot create configure: permission denied
After autoreconf run ./configure in
$ ./configure --host=i386-unknown-mingw32 --with-gcc=c:/mingw/bin/gcc
This is the point at which you specify that you are building GHC-mingw (see Section 11.1.1, “MinGW”).
Both these options are important! It's possible to get into trouble using the wrong C compiler!
Furthermore, it's very important that you specify a
full MinGW path for gcc, not a Cygwin path, because GHC (which
uses this path to invoke gcc) is a MinGW program and won't
understand a Cygwin path. For example, if you
--with-gcc=/mingw/bin/gcc, it'll be interpreted as
/cygdrive/c/mingw/bin/gcc, and GHC will fail the first
time it tries to invoke it. Worse, the failure comes with
no error message whatsoever. GHC simply fails silently when first invoked,
typically leaving you with this:
make: Leaving directory `/cygdrive/e/ghc-stage1/ghc/rts/gmp' ../../ghc/compiler/ghc-inplace -optc-mno-cygwin -optc-O -optc-Wall -optc-W -optc-Wstrict-prototypes -optc-Wmissing-prototypes -optc-Wmissing-declarations -optc-Winline -optc-Waggregate-return -optc-Wbad-function-cast -optc-Wcast-align -optc-I../includes -optc-I. -optc-Iparallel -optc-DCOMPILING_RTS -optc-fomit-frame-pointer -O2 -static -package-name rts -O -dcore-lint -c Adjustor.c -o Adjustor.o make: *** [Adjustor.o] Error 1 make: *** [all] Error 1 make: Leaving directory `/cygdrive/e/ghc-stage1/ghc' make: *** [all] Error 1
If you want to build GHC-cygwin (Section 11.1.2, “Cygwin and MSYS”) you'll have to do something more like:
$ ./configure --with-gcc=...the Cygwin gcc...
If you are paranoid, delete
config.cache if it exists.
This file occasionally remembers out-of-date configuration information, which
can be really confusing.
You almost certainly want to set
SplitObjs = NO
build.mk configuration file (see Section 6.3, “Getting the build you want”).
This tells the build system not to split each library into a myriad of little object files, one
for each function. Doing so reduces binary sizes for statically-linked binaries, but on Windows
it dramatically increases the time taken to build the libraries in the first place.
Do not attempt to build the documentation. It needs all kinds of wierd Jade stuff that we haven't worked out for Win32.
Here is a complete, from-scratch, log of all you need to build GHC using Cygwin, kindly provided by Claus Reinke. It does not discuss alternative choices, but it gives a single path that works.
- Install some editor (vim, emacs, whatever) - Install cygwin (http://www.cygwin.com) ; i used 1.5.16-1, installed in c:\cygwin - run 'setup.exe' Choose a Download Source: select 'download from internet'; Select Root Install Directory: root dir: c:\cygwin; install for: all users; default file type: unix Select Local Package Directory choose a spare temporary home Select Your Internet Connection Use IE5 settings Choose a Download Site Choose your preferred main mirror and Add 'http://www.haskell.org/ghc/cygwin' Select Packages In addition to 'Base' (default install), select 'Devel->ghc-depends' - Install mingw (http://www.mingw.org/) ; i used MinGW-3.1.0-1.exe ; installed in c:\mingw - you probably want to add GLUT ; (http://www.xmission.com/~nate/glut.html) ; i used glut-3.7.3-mingw32.tar - Get recent binary snapshot of ghc-6.4.1 for mingw ; (http://www.haskell.org/ghc/dist/stable/dist/) - unpack in c:/ghc - add C:\ghc\ghc-6.4.1\bin to %PATH% (Start->Control Panel->System->Advanced->Environment Variables) - Get darcs version of ghc ; also, subscribe to email@example.com, or follow the mailing list ; archive, in case you checkout a version with problems ; http://www.haskell.org//pipermail/cvs-all/ - mkdir c:/ghc-build; cd c:/ghc-build ; (or whereever you want your darcs tree to be) - darcs get http://darcs.haskell.org/ghc - cd ghc - chmod +x darcs-all - ./darcs-all get - Build ghc, using cygwin and mingw, targetting mingw - export PATH=/cygdrive/c/ghc/ghc-6.4.1:$PATH ; for haddock, alex, happy (*) - export PATH=/cygdrive/c/mingw/bin:$PATH ; without, we pick up some cygwin tools at best! - cd c:/ghc-build ; (if you aren't there already) - autoreconf - ./configure --host=i386-unknown-mingw32 --with-gcc=C:/Mingw/bin/gcc.exe ; we use cygwin, but build for windows - cp mk/build.mk.sample mk/build.mk - in mk/build.mk: add line: SplitObjs = NO (MSYS seems slow when there are zillions of object files) uncomment line: BuildFlavour = perf (or BuildFlavour = devel, if you are doing development) add line: BIN_DIST=1 - make 2>&1 | tee make.log ; always useful to have a log around - Package up binary distribution - make binary-dist Project=Ghc 2>&1 | tee make-bin-dist.log ; always useful to have a log around - cd ghc-6.5 - chmod +x ../distrib/prep-bin-dist-mingw ; if you're happy with the script's contents (*) - ../distrib/prep-bin-dist-mingw ; then tar up, unpack where wanted, and enjoy