This document provides instructions for building the Windows version of NetSurf and provides guidance on obtaining NetSurf's build dependencies.

Windows NetSurf has been tested on Wine and Vista.

Building and executing NetSurf

The windows netsurf port uses the MinGW (Minimal GNU on Windows) system as its build infrastructure. This allows the normal netsurf build process to be used.

The method outlined here to create executables cross compiles windows executable from a Linux OS host.

First of all, you should examine the contents of Makefile.defaults and enable and disable relevant features as you see fit by creating a Makefile.config file. Some of these options can be automatically detected and used, and where this is the case they are set to such. Others cannot be automatically detected from the Makefile, so you will either need to install the dependencies, or set them to NO.

You should then obtain NetSurf's dependencies, keeping in mind which options you have enabled in the configuration file. See the next section for specifics.

Once done, to build windows NetSurf on a UNIX-like platform, simply run:

$ export MINGW_PREFIX=i586-mingw32msvc-
$ export MINGW_INSTALL_ENV=/usr/i586-mingw32msvc/
$ make TARGET=windows

If that produces errors, you probably don't have some of NetSurf's build dependencies installed. See "Obtaining NetSurf's dependencies" below. Or turn off the complaining features in a Makefile.config file. You may need to "make clean" before attempting to build after installing the dependencies.

You will need the libgnurx-0.dll from /usr/i586-mingw32msvc/bin/ copied next to the exe and the windows/res directory available, also next to the executable.

Run NetSurf by executing it:

$ wine NetSurf.exe

The staticaly linked binary which is generated may be several megabytes in size, this can be reduced by stripping the binary.

$ i586-mingw32msvc-strip NetSurf.exe 

Obtaining NetSurf's build dependencies

Package installation

Debian-based OS:

The mingw cross compilation tools are required. These can be installed as pakages on Debian/Ubuntu systems:

$ sudo apt-get install mingw32 mingw32-binutils mingw32-runtime

These provide a suitable set of compilers and headers including the win32 API.

The includes and associated libraries are installed in /usr/i586-mingw32msvc/ Which is where the build system will include files from by default. The packages at time of writing only target 32bit windows builds.


For other OS the apropriate packages and environment must be installed.


A pkg-config wrapper script is required to make things easier

cat > /usr/i586-mingw32msvc/bin/pkg-config <<EOF #!/bin/bash export PKG_CONFIG_LIBDIR=/usr/i586-mingw32msvc/lib/pkgconfig /usr/bin/pkg-config $* EOF

Base libraries

Unlike other OS the base libraries and their dependancies need to be built and installed.

The instructions given here assume you will be installing on a Debian derived OS using the mingw32 packages. The libraries should be unpacked and built from a suitable temporary directory.


$ apt-get source zlib1g
$ cd zlib-
$ CC=i586-mingw32msvc-gcc AR=i586-mingw32msvc-ar RANLIB=i586-mingw32msvc-ranlib CFLAGS="-DNO_FSEEKO" ./configure --prefix=/usr/i586-mingw32msvc/
$ make
$ sudo make install


$ wget
$ tar -zxf libiconv-1.13.1.tar.gz
$ cd libiconv-1.13.1
$ ./configure --prefix=/usr/i586-mingw32msvc/ --host=i586-mingw32msvc --disable-shared
$ make
$ sudo make install


$ wget
$ tar -zxf mingw-libgnurx-2.5.1-src.tar.gz
$ cd mingw-libgnurx-2.5.1
$ ./configure --prefix=/usr/i586-mingw32msvc/ --host=i586-mingw32msvc
$ make
$ sudo make install


$ wget
$ tar -zxf openssl-1.0.0a.tar.gz
$ cd openssl-1.0.0a
$ PATH=/usr/i586-mingw32msvc/bin/:$PATH ./Configure no-shared disable-capieng --prefix=/usr/i586-mingw32msvc/ mingw
$ PATH=/usr/i586-mingw32msvc/bin/:$PATH make CC=i586-mingw32msvc-gcc RANLIB=i586-mingw32msvc-ranlib
$ sudo make install


$ wget
$ tar -zxf curl-7.26.0.tar.gz
$ cd curl-7.26.0
$ LDFLAGS=-mwindows ./configure --prefix=/usr/i586-mingw32msvc/ --host=i586-mingw32msvc --disable-shared --disable-ldap --without-random
$ make
$ sudo make install


$ wget
$ tar -zxf libpng-1.4.12.tar.gz
$ cd libpng-1.4.12
$ ./configure --prefix=/usr/i586-mingw32msvc/ --host=i586-mingw32msvc
$ make
$ sudo make install


$ wget
$ tar -zxf jpegsrc.v8d.tar.gz
$ cd jpeg-8d
$ ./configure --prefix=/usr/i586-mingw32msvc/ --host=i586-mingw32msvc --disable-shared
$ make
$ sudo make install

The NetSurf project's libraries

The NetSurf project has developed several libraries which are required by the browser. These are:

LibParserUtils – Parser building utility functions LibWapcaplet – String internment Hubbub – HTML5 compliant HTML parser LibCSS – CSS parser and selection engine LibNSGIF – GIF format image decoder LibNSBMP – BMP and ICO format image decoder LibROSprite – RISC OS Sprite format image decoder

To fetch each of these libraries, run the appropriate commands from the Docs/LIBRARIES file.

To build and install these libraries.

Ensure the MINGW_INSTALL_ENV variable is correctly set.

$ export MINGW_INSTALL_ENV=/usr/i586-mingw32msvc/

Then simply enter each of their directories and run:

 $ make TARGET=windows PREFIX=/usr/i586-mingw32msvc/
 $ sudo make TARGET=windows PREFIX=/usr/i586-mingw32msvc/ install


The windows resources may be rebuilt. Currently there is 1 object file included in the Git distribution of NetSurf that could be manually compiled

$ cd windows/res
$ i586-mingw32msvc-windres resource.rc -O coff -o resource.o