[Haskell-cafe] Re: binding to C libraries on Windoww

Robert Greayer robgreayer at gmail.com
Mon Dec 7 18:44:16 EST 2009

On Mon, Dec 7, 2009 at 4:37 PM, Andrew Coppin
<andrewcoppin at btinternet.com>wrote:

> And I have no problem with needing to install a Haskell compiler. If I had
> to install a seperate C compiler to make FFI to C work, that wouldn't seem
> unreasonable either. (As it happens, GHC has a C backend, so the C compiler
> just happens to be there already.) What does seem very weird is having to
> turn my Windows box into a psuedo-Unix system in order to write native
> Windows programs.
> <snip>
> You can't develop anything with just what's preinstalled. (Well, unless you
> could writing batch scripts...)
> Generally, if you want to develop C or C++ applications on Windows, you
> install MS Visual Studio. It gives you the compiler, linker, dependency
> management, and a whole bunch of other stuff. You typically wouldn't install
> gcc, ld and Automake. (Unless of course you were specifically trying to port
> existing Unix code, obviously.)
> It helps, I believe, if you stop thinking of MinGW with MSYS as 'a
pseudo-Unix system'.  They're billed as the minimal toolset required on
windows to use the GNU compilers and build system (and, as everybody knows,
Gnu's not Unix).  The great thing about these compilers is that they're
cross-platform and freely available, unlike MS Visual Studio.  I think that
it makes sense that open source software developers targeting multiple
platforms would want to pick a tool suite that works across all those
platforms, and the GNU tools fit that description.  Cygwin truly is a Unix
emulation, but MinGW/MSYS is just a packaging of useful open source (GNU)
tools for Windows (including a shell).  Many programs that work well as
native Windows apps, such as the GIMP, are built with them.
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