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Building Cairo on Windows
There are two primary ways to build Cairo on Windows. You can use a
UNIX emulation based setup, such as Cygwin or MSYS, with the
conventional configure script shipped with Cairo releases. In this
configuration, you will build with GCC and (implicitly) libtool. In
the Cygwin case you end up with a DLL that depends on Cygwin and
should be used only from Cygwin applications. In the MSYS case you end
up with a "normal" Win32 DLL that can be used either from GCC- or
Microsoft Visual C++-compiled code. In theory, this technique is no
different than the ordinary build process for the Cairo library. In
practise there are lots of small details that can go wrong.
The second way is to use a GNU-compatible make, but build using
Microsoft's Visual C++ compiler to produce native libraries. This is
the setup this README.win32 is written for. Also the DLL produced this
way is usable either from GCC- or MSVC-compiled code.
Tools required
You will need GNU make, version 3.80 or later. Earlier versions or
other modern make implementations may work, but are not guaranteed to.
You will also need Microsoft Visual C++. Version 7 has been most
heavily tested, but other versions are likely to work fine.
Libraries required
Cairo requires a compatible version of the pixman library. Full build
instructions are beyond the scope of this document; however, using the
same tools, it should be possible to build pixman simply by entering
the pixman/src directory and typing:
make -f Makefile.win32 CFG=release
Depending on your feature set, you may also need zlib and libpng.
There are a few files that you will need to edit. First, you must
determine which features will be built. Edit
build/Makefile.win32.features and set the features as desired. Note
that most features have external dependencies; specifically,
CAIRO_HAS_PNG_FUNCTIONS requires libpng to be present, and
To ensure that the compiler can find all dependencies, you may need to
edit build/Makefile.win32.common. In particular, ensure that
PIXMAN_CFLAGS contains a -I parameter pointing to the location of
your pixman header files and that PIXMAN_LIBS points to the actual
location of your pixman-1.lib file. You may also need to edit the
various occurrences of CAIRO_LIBS to point to other libraries
correctly. Note also that if you wish to link statically with zlib,
you should replace zdll.lib with zlib.lib.
Finally, from the top Cairo directory, type:
make -f Makefile.win32 CFG=release
If this command succeeds, you will end up with src/release/cairo.dll.
To successfully use Cairo from your own programs, you will probably
want to move this file to some central location. You will also
probably want to copy the Cairo header files. These should be placed
in a cairo subdirectory (for instance, c:/code/common/include/cairo).
The exact set to copy depends on your features and is reported to you
at the end of the build.