MinGW or mingw32 ( Minimalist GNU for Windows ) is a software port of the GNU development tools (GCC, GDB) on the Windows platform, with which you can develop programs for Windows. MinGW arose from the Cygwin project. It is, unlike Cygwin, requires no compatibility layer in the form of a DLL. Also can thus be released under licenses developed software that are not compatible with the GNU General Public License ( GPL).

MinGW is a collection of Windows header files ( Windows API ) for native Windows development. It is often used in combination with MSYS. This is a Unix - like shell available in, among other things configure scripts can be started. There is also a version of cross-compiler available, with which you can create programs for Windows and vice versa under Linux. MinGW currently supports the programming languages ​​Ada, Fortran, C, C and Objective -C. The Java programming language is no longer supported since the MinGW version 4.5.0 due to unsolved problems.

MinGW is not integrated development environment (IDE ), it is in the standard distribution only through a console (eg MSYS ) to operate. However, there are IDEs that make the program a graphical user interface to operate. Known are Qt Creator, Orwell Dev- C , Eclipse IDE with CDT plugin, NetBeans IDE or Code :: Blocks Studio, with which you can also debug interactively, as well as MinGW Developer Studio, which is the appearance of MS Visual Studio 6.0 oriented, and Visual - MinGW.


The first release of the software was made in 1998 by Colin Peters. This first version was based on the Cygwin project, a POSIX -based Windows port of GCC.

Jan- Jaap van der Heijden created on this basis, a Windows -native version of the GCC and added the packages binutils and make added. Later Mumit Khan took up further, he added more Windows-specific functions, in particular the Win32 header files by Anders Norlander. 1999 its own e -mail distribution list was created for the MinGW project. In 2000, the website of the project moved to the developer platform SourceForge, this step should centralize the development and involve the developer community better.

In September 2005, MinGW was chosen by Sourceforge Project of the Month.