Building on Windows

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For building Cygwin is needed, a Windows program that emulates a complete Unix command line environment. To use this document you need to be familiar with a command line, but you need not to be a UNIX shell wizard.


Template:Documentation/Note Template:Documentation/Tip


hardware requirements

  • 1 or more reasonable fast CPUs (x-way CPU recommended)
  • 1 GB RAM (2 GB recommended)
  • 10 GB free disk space (20 GB when debugging)

software requirements

  • Windows XP/Vista

The following table is placed here, so you can come back to it easily, when you want to use a link. The items are explained below. Here's the list of files to download (with links) and the locations in the source tree where you must put them:

Where to get Place in
Cygwin: Cygwin Toolkit with (dll version 1.5.10) or later (default)
C/C++ Compiler: free: Visual C++ 2008 Express Compiler (basic install, no optional parts required) official: Visual C++ 2008 Professional (default)
Java: JDK 1.6 for DEV300 milestones >= m37 and all OOo310 versions (older milestones will fail in the hsqldb module) (default)
Windows SDK for Windows Server 2008[1]
GDI+ Redistributable (Genuine Windows Validation required) external/gdiplus
Only for OOo2.x but due to Issue 88652 in configure still needed for 3.x: unicows.dll from (Microsoft Layer for Unicode)[2] external/unicows
dbghelp.dll[3] external/dbghelp
instmsiw.exe and instmsia.exe external/msi
for 2005 compiler and Seamonkey libraries from 3.2 up: msvcp80.dll and msvcr80.dll (found in c:\WINDOWS/WinSxS/x86_Microsoft.VC80.CRT_1fc8b3b9a1e18e3b_8.0.50727.42_x-ww_0de06acd/msvc external/msvcp80
for 2008 compiler (until DEV300 m22): msvcp90.dll and msvcr90.dll (found in $(msvcdir)\Vc\redist\x86\Microsoft.VC90.CRT) external/msvcp90
for 2008 compiler starting with DEV300m23: Microsoft_VC90_CRT_x86.msm and policy_9_0_Microsoft_VC90_CRT_x86.msm for non debug builds and Microsoft_VC90_DebugCRT_x86.msm and policy_9_0_Microsoft_VC90_DebugCRT_x86.msm for debug builds[4]

. These merge modules are available in VS08 Express Edition and VS08 Professional Edtion. All *.msm files are located at c:\Program Files\Common Files\Merge Module.

Apache Ant (version 1.6.5 or later) (default)
Mozilla binary distribution


msvcr71.dll and msvcp71.dll for Mozilla libraries (Search for them in the Web or on your PC. These files should be named as all lower case. Sometimes when downloaded they are upper case and this will cause 'file not found' errors towards the end of the build)) external/msvcp71
optional: Nullsoft Scriptable Install System (NSIS)[5]
optional: Microsoft DirectX SDK[6]

adding required files to the build tree




Installation and Preparation of Build Tools

setting up cygwin

Go to and download and install the current version.

Documentation caution.png Make sure that you keep the filetype set to “Unix/binary”.
Documentation caution.png Make sure that the PATH variable in your cygwin shell does not contain any blanks and quotes, otherwise configure will not work

required additional packages

Cygwin consists of some basic and a lot of optional packages. As building OOo needs some of these optional packages you have to select them in the installer. Here's a complete list of the needed packages:

  • Category Archive:
    • unzip
    • zip
  • Category Devel :
    • autoconf
    • bison
    • flex
    • gcc-g++
    • gperf
    • make
    • openssl-devel (only needed for perl modules for CWS tooling, see below)
    • mercurial (or cvs for 2.x-3.0, or subversion for 3.1 codeline)
    • readline
  • Category Libs
    • openssl
  • Category Net
    • openssh
  • Category Perl
    • perl
  • Category Shells
    • mintty
  • Category Utils
    • patch
    • gnupg
  • Category Web
    • wget


breaking links to executables

Within the Cygwin Toolkit, some executables might be symlinks: awk.exe and gunzip.exe, tar.exe (in older releases only). This can lead to a break of the build later, and the symlinks should be replaced by copies of the command they link to.

To check this, execute:

ls -l /bin/awk.exe

whether e.g. awk.exe is a symlink. In version 1.5.24-2 awk.exe is a link to gawk.exe. The shell will show this by putting out “awk.exe -> gawk.exe”. In this case gawk.exe must be copied to awk.exe by executing:

cd /bin
rm awk.exe
cp gawk.exe awk.exe

In case you overlook something here or you have a newer Cygwin version with additional symlinks not mentioned here it's not a problem. You will get a helpful error message about an existing link in the configuration step (configure) later. The message will tell you which link you have to remove and you can do it following the advice given above for the awk.exe/gawk.exe pair.

installing additional perl modules in cygwin

As explained some perl modules must be installed with CPAN. The necessary command in the cygwin shell is

perl -MCPAN -e shell

If this command is executed the first time CPAN will ask for configuration. Choose autoconfiguration.

Documentation caution.png Please note that CPAN is not able to deal with usernames containing spaces. To work around this fact, when CPAN asks you to specify the CPAN build and cache directory, change the default suggestion to /cpan.

At the end the CPAN shell appeared and is ready to accept commands for installations. Each module is installed by typing install $MODULENAME. The modules that must be installed are:

  • Archive::Zip
  • XML::Parser (though it seems that this is already installed; doesn't hurt to do it)
  • URI
  • LWP::UserAgent
  • Crypt::SSLeay
  • SOAP::Lite

CPAN will detect if a selected module depends on other modules and it will offer to download them also. As explained please just confirm this.


Documentation caution.png I got an error message from CPAN somewhat like the following:
C:\cygwin\bin\perl.exe: *** unable to remap C:\cygwin\bin\cygiconv-2.dll to same
address as parent(0x7C0000) != 0x7D0000

To fix this, I had to exit the Cygwin shell, run cmd.exe, then type "c:\cygwin\bin\ash.exe" to start the minimal shell, then type /bin/rebaseall. Then CPAN worked when I ran it again.

Documentation caution.png I got another error when cygwin was performing make install:
ERROR: Can't create '/usr/bin'; Do not have write permissions on '/usr/bin'

I can actually write to /usr/bin; however when I do ls -ld /usr/bin, cygwin reports no write permission; and chmod u+w /usr/bin gives Permission denied. This causes the install process to fail when it checks permissions. As a kludge, I installed vim, and edited line 368 of /usr/lib/perl5/5.10/ExtUtils/, replacing this:

return -w $dir;

with this:

return 1;

which allowed installation to proceed.

Full Builds

Documentation caution.png Use a short absolute directory name to store source, such as C:\ooo. Otherwise, there are weird issues during the building of the postprocess module, because the command line length of some build actions is too long:
 1 [main] perl 1972 C:\cygwin\bin\perl.exe: *** fatal error - fork: can't reserve memory for stack 0x83C840 - 0x840000, 
Win32 error 487


Finally the configure tool is used to create the environment. It checks that all software, hardware, and system requirements for the build are satisfied, and creates configuration files called winenv.set (for tcsh) and (for bash) that are used to set all necessary build environment variables. Before running configure, make sure that all needed programs are in the system path or start configure with the appropriate command line switches. If configure detects a problem it will stop and give you a useful hint how to fix it.

For building OOo from the Mercurial repository: You will find the configure script in $SRC_ROOT. The resulting configuration files are created there too.

For building OOo from the Apache svn repository: call "autoconf" in $SRC_ROOT. This will create the configure step. Repeat that and the configure step after each change in (either by yourself or anyone else).

sample configure calls

You can get short explanations for all parameters by using ./configure --help.

minimum (requires the most prerequisites) - pathes of course are machine dependent:

 --with-mozilla-build="/cygdrive/d/OOo/mozilla-build-1.3" \
 --with-cl-home="/cygdrive/c/Program Files/Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0/VC" \
 --with-mspdb-path="/cygdrive/c/Program Files/Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0/Common7/IDE" \
 --with-frame-home="/cygdrive/c/Program Files/Microsoft SDKs/Windows/v6.1" \
 --with-psdk-home="/cygdrive/c/Program Files/Microsoft SDKs/Windows/v6.1" \
 --with-midl-path="/cygdrive/c/Program Files/Microsoft SDKs/Windows/v6.1/Bin" \
 --with-asm-home="/cygdrive/c/Program Files/Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0/VC/Bin" \
 --with-csc-path="/cygdrive/c/WINDOWS/Microsoft.NET/Framework/v3.5" \
 --with-jdk-home="/cygdrive/c/j2sdk1.5.0.06" \
 --with-directx-home="/cygdrive/d/OOo/DirectXSDK" \
 --with-ant-home=/ant \

some further settings that might help to get rid of some prerequisites that not every developer needs (but be aware, this will also remove some parts from the final build result):

 --disable-mozilla \
 --disable-activex \
 --disable-directx \
 --disable-atl \
 --without-junit \
 --disable-binfilter \
 --disable-odk \

for all builds on code lines older than OOo330 or older than milestone m77 on the DEV300 code line:


some other settings worth considering:

 --enable-pch \
 --enable-werror \
 --enable-dbgutil \

in case you want to have several workspaces on your hard disk, it might be a good idea to share external source tarballs:

 --with-external-tar=d:/OOo/ext_sources \

configure settings tips

Documentation caution.png Make sure that the PATH variable in your cygwin shell does not contain any blanks and quotes.
Documentation caution.png Paths might have problems with spaces. Install requirements into pathes without them. Alternatively, feel free to install the various packages using the default path containing spaces and then use the mixed short path for the configure stage. The mixed short path can be obtained using Cygwin's cygpath tool, eg:
$ cygpath -m -s "c:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\VC"

The with-psdk-home setting needs a case-sensitive path name. I recommend to use case-sensitive usage in all cases - it's good to get used to case sensitivity if you are going to work with Cygwin.

Documentation caution.png Beware of using /c/ instead of /cygdrive/c/.
Documentation caution.png Avoid trailing slashes in configure parameters. They sure cause problems for --with-psdk-home.

Template:Documentation/Note Template:Documentation/Tip Template:Documentation/Tip

Documentation caution.png If you run into problems compiling on an "Express Edition" (such as Cannot open include files: 'atlbase.h': No such files or directory), check your settings in for DISABLE_ATL, DISABLE_ACTIVEX: all have to be set TRUE. Visual Studio Express compilers do not contain everything needed to build the OOo ActiveX control, OLE automation and native Windows OLE support, so disable support for them via --disable-atl --disable-activex. A "complete" Visual Studio (no “Express” version) is not limited in that way.

Template:Documentation/Tip Template:Documentation/Tip Template:Documentation/Tip Template:Documentation/Tip Template:Documentation/Tip


After running configure you must create the dmake make utility that is needed for the build of This done from the SRC_ROOT directory by calling



setting the enviroment

When the configure script has been run successfully a file was created[7]. Do this:


to set up the enviroment for the build.

starting the build

Build the software by typing the following in $SRC_ROOT[8]:


The building procedure will take at least an hour (on a 3 GHz Quad-Core with 8GB RAM).

There are some special things in the way how OOo builds its modules. Every module has an “output” folder (with some subfolders for the different kinds of generated output) that is created the first time a build is done in the module. The name of this folder is “” for builds with MSVC++2003, “” for builds with MSVC++2005 and "" for builds with MSVC++2008 (for the meaning of the "pro" extension see below). After a successful build of a module some of the generated files are copied to the output folder of the “solver” module by executing a tool called “deliver” (this is automatically called by build --all for each of the modules). Other modules will take these “delivered” files (header files, libraries etc.) to resolve their dependencies. The content of the solver module will also be used to pack the installation sets in the final step.


Partial Builds

There are two ways to do partial builds:

  • compatible
  • incompatible

Only do compatible partial builds if you know exactly what you are doing. Template:Documentation/Note

rebuilding from a module (incompatible build)

If you decide to change a module in an incompatible way, you will need to rebuild all modules depending on it (directly or indirectly):

cd $SRC_ROOT/instsetoo_native
build --from $INCOMPATIPLEMODULE --prepare

rebuilding a module (compatible build)

To rebuild a module you can delete all output directories with, rebuild and redeliver into the solver with:

build --from $MODULE --prepare
build && deliver

A simple build in $SRC_ROOT/instsetoo_native will recreate the installation sets, provided all other modules have already been build.[9]

Building a Module with Debug Information

To rebuild a module with debug information and additional assertions and checks, run:

build --from $MODULE --prepare # removes old output trees and solver
build debug=true --from $MODULE

Drop the newly created binaries into an existing installation. Building an installation set with them will not help, as binaries are stripped on packing by default.


Finding the Installation Sets

After a successful build you will find the OOo installation set in


“instsetoo_native” is the module that packs the installation set.


Tips And Tricks


For Windows: download from here, do the following:

export CCACHE_DIR="some/place/with/space"
ccache -M 2G -F 10000
export CXX=" ccache cl"
# export USE_PCH=  if you experience trouble with precompiled headers



If you set the environment variable nodep to TRUE, then dependendy information files are not created - the build finishes faster.

Documentation caution.png But only enable that on a clean build. Once you have built OOo and then made modifications, unset the variable again to be on the safe side.


Similar to the nodep variable, this one prevents the generation of HIDs (Help IDs) that are mainly used for automated testing - if you only want to build OOo, you don't need those.

parallel builds

If you have a multiprocessor machine or similar, you can run a parallel build. There are two levels of parallelism - one operating on makefile (directory) level, the other one on the global level. The two levels of parallelism result from the two-step build procedure in the OOo build environment. The build script runs through all the directories it reads from the build.lst files in all modules and calls dmake for every directory.

parallelism on the global level

For parallelism on the global level, you have to run build from $SRC_ROOT>/instsetoo_native with the -P<number> switch, for example:

build -P2

This takes build how many dmake processes it is allowd to start in parallel.

parallelism on the directory level

export MAXPROCESS=<numer or processes> 

This tells dmake how many targets it is allowed to build in parallel. When you don't use but build a single directory (single makefile), you can achieve the same with

dmake -P2

combining both levels

If you want to have parallelism on both levels, you can call

build -P2 -- -P2

"--" is a special parameter that passes every further parameters to the dmake processes it starts.


Experience tells that using the doubled number of cores in your machine is a good choice, using more threads does not make a big difference, except if the combined option is chosen. So even on single core machines using two threads will speed up the build considerably.

create prebuilt mozilla

For the mozilla-components you have the choice to either build from mozilla sources, to use precompiled packages or to use system-mozilla (the one installed on your buildsystem, not everything might work, depending on the version you got installed). You can easily create your own version of the prepacked binaries if you wish to do so (either because you cannot use the official ones because of mismatch of compiler version used to build them/other technical reasons or because you want to use stuff you didn't build yourself). To do so:

  • build the moz module from the mozilla sources
  • use --enable-build-mozilla when running configure and put the mozilla-source tarball to moz/download
  • in moz run dmake zip to create the zip files
  • you'll find the zips in {platform}.pro/zipped

Copy them to a location of your liking. Now instead of using --enable-build-mozilla, use --disable-build-mozilla and copy the zips you created or downloaded to moz/zipped and these will be used when compiling. This will greatly reduce build-time (you save the time that would otherwise be spent on compiling mozilla).

See Also


  1. Template:Documentation/Note
  2. Template:Documentation/Note
  3. Template:Documentation/Note
  4. Template:Documentation/Note
  5. Template:Documentation/Note
    Documentation caution.png It used to be that newer version of NSIS broke the build (see Issue 85657 ), but it seems that it now works for NSIS up to 2.3.7.
  6. Template:Documentation/Note
    Documentation caution.png Current (as of 2008/01) versions of the DirectX9 SDK and Windows Platform SDK do not fit to each other. To be able to build with DirextX enabled, you need to patch one file in the Platform SDK. See for details.
    Documentation caution.png Do not use a DirectX10 SDK!
  7. Template:Documentation/Note
  8. Template:Documentation/Note
  9. Documentation caution.png build --all would rebuild changed/missing files. However, it does not check for incompatible modules. If unsure, use build --from --prepare.
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