MinGW, a contraction of “Minimalist GNU for Windows”, is a minimalist development environment for native Microsoft Windows applications.
MinGW is a registered trademark of Software in the Public Interest Inc., registration number 86017856; it has been registered on behalf of MinGW.org, and its use by any other project is unauthorized.
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 must ship 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 full 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), MinGW includes:—
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.
The MinGW.org Project operates one active discussion mailing list, to which you are encouraged to subscribe, and to participate in the discussion. Please use this list, if you wish to seek advice on using MinGW; do not create wiki pages, or add comments to wiki pages, to ask questions.
In addition to the above discussion list, we also operate a read‑only mailing list, for posting of notifications about project activity; while this may be of more interest to project contributors, you are also welcome to subscribe to this list, if you would like to receive such notifications.
Archives of past postings, to each of these mailing lists, are available on OSDN. There are also historical archives of older — now defunct — project mailing lists available on SourceForge.net; subscription to these older lists is no longer permitted.
While MinGW provides tools primarily intended for use by developers working on the MS‑Windows platform, many developers choose to run cross‑compiler variants of the MinGW tools, on platforms such as GNU/Linux, to generate applications for deployment on MS‑Windows. To facilitate this development model, many Linux distributors provide the necessary cross-compiler tools, derived from the MinGW tool chains; such cross‑compiler tool chains are not directly supported by MinGW.org, although we may be able to help out with advice related to the specifics of MS‑Windows applications development, common to the use of our own native tool chains and to such cross‑compilers.