Windows: Replace VisualStudio with gcc/clang?

Thomas Stüfe thomas.stuefe at
Mon Mar 12 16:13:58 UTC 2018

 I wonder how much of the perceived difficulty of Windows as build platform
is really the fault of Visual Studio. I find it quite easy to install.

But the required Cygwin install could be better documented: I have a text
file somewhere with all required packets, but I do not know if an official
documentation exists.

Then there is the annoying freetype dependency, which soon will be history
thanks to Phil Race (8193017).

Also, installing Visual Studio could be easier by making sure that we
always can build with the latest community version, early when it comes
out. Since it is not so easy to find community/express/whatever downloads
for earlier versions of Visual Studio.

(Just my 5c).

Best Regards, Thomas

On Mon, Mar 12, 2018 at 11:18 AM, Magnus Ihse Bursie <
magnus.ihse.bursie at> wrote:

> Hi Hendrik,
> This sounds like something that should be discussed on build-dev, rather
> than jdk-dev.
> Short answer to your question: There's no technical reason why it would
> not be possible to use clang or gcc on Windows. However, the code is full
> of assumptions that "compiling on Windows" == "compiling using the
> Microsoft toolchain", and it will certainly take a lot of effort to hunt
> all these down and fix them properly.
> Personally, I don't think it's worth the effort. It's unlikely that the
> resulting binary will have any significant change in performance (at least
> not any positive one), and it is likely to continuously break since people
> will be adding new code with the "windows" == "microsoft toolchain"
> assumption.
> Question: Is the Visual Studio Express (
> vs/visual-studio-express/) such a hassle to install?
> /Magnus
> On 2018-03-06 12:17, Hendrik Schreiber wrote:
>> Hey,
>> inspired by the recent news that Chrome ditched the Microsoft C++
>> compiler and replaced it with gcc/clang (
>> ts/2018/03/chrome-on-windows-ditches-microsofts-compiler-now-uses-clang/),
>> I’m wondering wether that’s possible and desirable for OpenJDK, too.
>>  From my point of view: Yes.
>> Downloading, installing etc. Visual Studio is a major pain for anybody
>> usually working on another platform. Whenever I encounter a bug that’s
>> Windows specific, I pretty much always give up the idea to create a fix and
>> instead just report a bug. It’s just too much of a hassle to create a
>> working build environment.
>> So has migrating to gcc/clang for Windows been evaluated? Is it an option
>> at all? Would it make things easier or harder? What do you think? Besides
>> ease of use, how would such a move affect performance?
>> Cheers,
>> -hendrik

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