[Gpg4win-users-en] Why build on Linux and not Windows?

Andre Heinecke aheinecke at gnupg.org
Wed Feb 24 08:20:04 CET 2021


On Tuesday 23 February 2021 16:38:02 CET David wrote:
> I think GPG is great software and I use it regularly.
> I just want to understand something.
> The last time I looked at the source was PGP 2.6.2 and that used to
> build on MS Windows.
> I note that Gpg4Win is now cross compiled on Linux.
> What is the reason for not building Gpg4Win on Windows?

There are several reasons, historically the availability of free compilers for 
Windows was not always where it is nowadays and we never wanted to require 
propietary tools to build Gpg4win. So we are independent of decisions made by 
these compiler distributors (e.g. Microsoft).
It's also a bit of a trust issue, for example we take steps not to rely on 
Windows "Random" number functions because we cannot be absolutely sure that 
they are not biased. This would be diminished a bit if we would then rely on a 
Microsoft compiler to translate our random code.

Generally using GCC as the compiler gives us more control, freedom and 
understanding about how our source code is translated into binaries.

It is also way easier to set up a clean and reproducable build enviornment 
with Linux. So that we have dedicated systems that only build Gpg4win and are 
not "cluttered" with other things. That way we can be more sure no malware on 
the build system exists for example.

There are several other reasons like our toolchain depending a lot on tools 
usually found on linux like automake etc.

Hope this explains it a bit. Btw. With Windows 10 and WSL you can install a 
debian from the Microsoft Store on Windows and use that to compile Gpg4win on 
Windows directly :-)

Best Regards,

GnuPG.com - a brand of g10 Code, the GnuPG experts.

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