MinGW, a contraction of „Minimalist GNU for Windows”, is a minimalist development environment for native Microsoft Windows applications.
MinGW provides a complete Open Source programming tool set which is suitable for the development of native MS-Windows applications, and which do not depend on any 3rd-party C-Runtime DLLs. (It does depend on a number of DLLs provided by Microsoft themselves, as components of the operating system; most notable among these is MSVCRT.DLL, the Microsoft C runtime library. Additionally, threaded applications mustship with a freely distributable thread support DLL, provided as part of MinGW itself).
MinGW compilers provide access to the functionality of the Microsoft C runtime and some language-specific runtimes. MinGW, being Minimalist,does not, and never will, attempt to provide a POSIX runtime environment for POSIX application deployment on MS-Windows. If you want POSIX application deployment on this platform, please consider Cygwin instead.
Primarily intended for use by developers working on the native MS-Windows platform, but also available for cross-hosted use, (see note below — you may need to follow the „read more” link to see it), MinGW includes:
- A port of the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC), including C, C++, ADA and Fortran compilers;
- GNU Binutils for Windows (assembler, linker, archive manager)
- A command-line installer (mingw-get) for MinGW and MSYS deployment on MS-Windows
- A GUI wrapper (mingw-get-inst) for the command line installer
MSYS, a contraction of „Minimal SYStem”, is a Bourne Shell command line interpreter system. Offered as an alternative to Microsoft’s cmd.exe, this provides a general purpose command line environment, which is particularly suited to use with MinGW, for porting of many Open Source applications to the MS-Windows platform; a light-weight fork of Cygwin-1.3, it includes a small selection of Unix tools, chosen to facilitate that objective.
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