Dropping various support in future releases - what about Mingw?

Kyle Marek kmarek@pdinc.us
Mon Nov 1 17:33:40 GMT 2021

On 10/31/21 7:06 PM, Jason Pyeron wrote:
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Brian Inglis
>> Sent: Sunday, October 31, 2021 11:23 AM
>> Perhaps someone could explain why Cygwin maintains, builds, and
>> distributes Mingw tools and libraries, instead of that being done by the
>> Mingw project(s) about which I know little?
>> As we will be dropping Windows versions and 32 bit support in future
>> releases, should we also be looking at dropping the Mingw packages we
>> maintain, build, and distribute, but do not appear to use, except for
>> building other Mingw packages?
>> Supporting the two Mingw variations on packages sometimes takes as much
>> work as the Cygwin packages, as parts of the toolchains and libraries
>> may have different versions and dependencies.
>> I basically build, check, and distribute those, but know little about
>> using them to check they work, so no idea whether they work or not.
>> I have had little success in getting the Mingw dual arch build process
>> working to any useful extent, and no response to questions about that,
>> which I may have buried at the end of my other verbiage on this list.
> Kyle,
> Thoughts?

Being a GCC toolchain, MinGW *could* distribute binaries built with 
MinGW itself (such that they do not depend in Cygwin or MSYS). However, 
MinGW doesn't have a package manager that would allow developers to 
easily add development libraries besides the usual msvcrt symbol stubs 
and libstdc++ or whatever, so I wouldn't necessarily say that they 
*should* distribute binaries themselves.

On the 32-bit support issue: regardless of Cygwin dropping support for 
32-bit, and regardless of Cygwin's own use of MinGW to build setup.exe 
(as Achim pointed out), MinGW is used as a cross-compiler for developers 
to target 32-bit non-Cygwin platforms. There is value in Cygwin being 
useful on modern machines as a development environment to target older 
platforms, even if Cygwin itself won't run on older platforms. Obviously 
this might be a minority use case and Cygwin is a volunteer project, so 
it would be understandable if the 32-bit cross compiler packages went 
away due to a lack of volunteer interest. I hope this doesn't happen, 
because it is not really fun to compile our own cross-compilers.

I am not a Cygwin package maintainer, so I have no opinions regarding 
package maintenance.


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- Kyle Marek                        PD Inc. http://www.pdinc.us -
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