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Building Nightingale on Windows

When to build Nightingale

On Windows, you do never need to build Nightingale if you want to use the application. You can download binaries from the homepage, wrapped into an easy-to-use installer. If you're interested in developing add-ons or feathers, you also do not need to build Nightingale. Install it the usual way and you're ready to go. For some complex add-ons the build system described here might be needed or helpful, through. But if you don't know about this you almost certainly do not want to get a build system.

So, the only reason for building Nightingale is if you want to work on the core code of Nightingale, or if you want to use the Nightingale Build System for building add-ons (remember: most add-ons do NOT need to be built!).

If you're sure you want to build

After we discussed when not to build, let's move to the actual building process:

Setting up a Build Environment

You need some tools to build Nightingale. Here's a (maybe incomplete) list of requirements for using our build system:

You can install most of these with the chocolatey package manager using this command:

  choco install mozillabuild windows-sdk-7.0 git visualstudioexpress2008
  • You need to set some environment variables for the build system to find all libraries. To prevent your system's variables from getting polluted, I recommend updating your start-msvcX.bat (see Building), edit the last lines to match (note: this is for WDK 7600.16385.1 and Visual Studio 2008, you may adjust the paths:
    echo Set WDK
    set INCLUDE=%INCLUDE%;c:\WinDDK\7600.16385.1\inc\api;c:\WinDDK\7600.16385.1\inc\crt;c:\WinDDK\7600.16385.1\inc\atl71
    set LIB=%LIB%;c:\WinDDK\7600.16385.1\lib\wxp\i386;c:\WinDDK\7600.16385.1\lib\Crt\i386;C:\WinDDK\7600.16385.1\lib\ATL\i386
    set PATH=%PATH%;c:\WinDDK\7600.16385.1\bin\x86\x86;c:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v6.0A\Bin;c:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\VC\bin;c:\mozilla-build\msys\bin;c:\mozilla-build\moztools\bin;C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\VC\bin;C:\Program Files (x86)\git\bin
    "%MOZILLABUILD%\msys\bin\bash" --login -i
  • You need to delete (or rename) the vim/vim72/install.exe within mozilla-build, as it blocks the correct install.exe from being accessed through the build system.

Configure the build

You can specify options in nightingale.config. The file does not exist by default, as it is ignored by .gitignore. Example nightingale.config for building on Windows:

ac_add_options --disable-compiler-environment-checks
ac_add_options --with-media-core=default
ac_add_options --enable-installer
ac_add_options --with-msvc-express

This disables checking the compiler (so it works with VC9 / Visual Studio 2008), sets the default media core (just do it in case you don't know what this is, in theory this is also the default value but there were some issues in the past…) and enables building an installer.

You can specify the following flags in nightingale.config (prefix with ac_add_options):

  --enable-debug                         whether or not to compile a debug version (disabled by default)
  --enable-jars                          whether or not to create jar files (enabled by default)
  --enable-installer                     whether or not to create installer (disabled by default)
  --enable-official                      whether or not to create an official build (disabled by default)
  --enable-nightly                       whether or not to create an nightly build (disabled by default)
  --enable-tests                         whether or not to build tests (defaults: debug:enabled rel:disabled)
  --enable-update-channel=CHANNEL        which update channel to use ("default")
  --enable-breakpad                      whether or not to enable breakpad (disabled by default in non-official builds)
  --enable-static                        experimental single-component static build support (disabled by default)
  --enable-compiler-environment-checks   only allow officially-supported compiler versions (enabled by default)

Please note that installer building needs quite much free RAM (~1.5 GB currently) and will fail if that amount is not available.

Additional steps for debug builds

No additional steps should be required. Just be sure to add the debug flag to your build config and build with


After you set everything up, you can open a console for building by the batch script for your VC-Version (Visual Studio 2008 is VC9 → start-msvc9.bat). Do not use x64-scripts, even if you're on x64 Windows!

The following assumes you have a buildable Nightingale source branch in C:\Nightingale.

Type the following to build:

cd /c/Nightingale

Running a successful build

If everything succeeded, you have a Nightingale built in C:\Nightingale\compiled\dist. If you choose to build installers, they are in C:\Nightingale\compiled\_built_installer.


If you get the following :

/c/nightingale-hacking/configure: line 8200: test: : integer expression expected
/c/nightingale-hacking/configure: line 8213: test: : integer expression expected
configure: error: The linker major version, 9.00.30729.01, does not match the compiler suite version, .
make: *** [/c/nightingale-hacking/compiled/config.status] Error 1

Edit file, search for line that contains “CC_VERSION=” and replaced it by the version of “cl” :

    # Determine compiler version
    # CC_VERSION=`"${CC}" -v 2>&1 | sed -ne "$_MSVC_VER_FILTER"`

It should compile fine now.

It should be fixed as of 07/03/2014.

For other issues feel free to in IRC or the forums!

build/windows.txt · Last modified: 2015/08/03 09:20 by freaktechnik