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Re: autoconf in pure MSVC environment?

From: Bob Friesenhahn
Subject: Re: autoconf in pure MSVC environment?
Date: Tue, 7 Sep 2004 09:42:31 -0500 (CDT)

On Tue, 7 Sep 2004, Ludovic Courtès wrote:

Today, 30 minutes, 59 seconds ago, Paul Eggert wrote:
You were right to scratch your head.  It would be a big job.

(Microsoft could do it; perhaps you could ask them for help.  :-)

Using MSVC's compiler (`cl') "by hand" is really painful: it doesn't
recognize _any_ of the common compiler switches (like `-lxxx', `-Ixxx',
`-c', etc.)  every Unix compiler has always had.  Microsoft tools
clearly work hard on making it difficult to write applications portable
between Windows and the rest of the world.

The task does not seem insurmountable. There are equivalents for most Unix-style flags.

However, if you start using GCC on Windows (along with MinGW or Cygwin),
you can benefit from almost all the GNU tools and make your application
portable to almost every possible platform at no cost (you can keep your
makefiles, use Libtool to abstract shared library compilation, etc.).
Moreover, you end up using a _real_ C/C++ compiler that conforms to
standards and which is Free Software.

As someone who's package also targets MinGW and Cygwin, I can attest that what you describe is reasonable. However, MinGW and Cygwin can access only a small fraction of the libraries available under Windows. That means that any Windows-specific programming must be done the "hard way" (as described in Charles Petzold's "Programming Windows") and Windows preferred development libraries/facilities like MFC, ATL, and .net, can't be used.

Bob Friesenhahn

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