perlce - Perl for WinCE

Building Perl for WinCE

   Much of this document has become very out of date and needs updating,
   rewriting or deleting. The build process was overhauled during the 5.19
   development track and the current instructions as of that time are
   given in "CURRENT BUILD INSTRUCTIONS"; the previous build instructions,
   which are largely superseded but may still contain some useful
   information, are left in "OLD BUILD INSTRUCTIONS" but really need
   removing after anything of use has been extracted from them.

   This file gives the instructions for building Perl5.8 and above for
   WinCE.  Please read and understand the terms under which this software
   is distributed.

   General explanations on cross-compiling WinCE
   *   miniperl is built. This is a single executable (without DLL),
       intended to run on Win32, and it will facilitate remaining build
       process; all binaries built after it are foreign and should not run

       miniperl is built using ./win32/Makefile; this is part of normal
       build process invoked as dependency from wince/Makefile.ce

   *   After miniperl is built, configpm is invoked to create right in right place and its corresponding

       Unlike Win32 build, miniperl will not have of host within
       reach; it rather will use from within cross-compilation

       File is dead simple: for given cross-architecture places
       in @INC a path where perl modules are, and right in that

       That said, "miniperl -Ilib -MConfig -we 1" should report an error,
       because it can not find If it does not give an error --
       wrong is substituted, and resulting binaries will be a

       "miniperl -MCross -MConfig -we 1" should run okay, and it will
       provide right for further compilations.

   *   During extensions build phase, a script ./win32/ is
       invoked, which in turn steps in ./ext subdirectories and performs a
       build of each extension in turn.

       All invokes of Makefile.PL are provided with "-MCross" so to enable
       cross- compile.

   (These instructions assume the host is 32-bit Windows. If you're on
   64-bit Windows then change "C:\Program Files" to "C:\Program Files
   (x86)" throughout.)

   1. Install EVC4 from

   Use the key mentioned at

   The installer is ancient and has a few bugs on the paths it uses. You
   will have to fix them later. Basically, some things go into "C:/Program
   Files/Windows CE Tools", others go into "C:/Windows CE Tools"
   regardless of the path you gave to the installer (the default will be
   "C:/Windows CE Tools"). Reboots will be required for the installer to
   proceed. Also .c and .h associations with Visual Studio might get
   overridden when installing EVC4. You have been warned.

   2. Download celib from GitHub (using "Download ZIP") at

   Extract it to a spaceless path but not into the perl build source.  I
   call this directory "celib-palm-3.0" but in the GitHub snapshot it will
   be called "celib-master". Make a copy of the
   "wince-arm-pocket-wce300-release" folder and rename the copy to
   "wince-arm-pocket-wce400". This is a hack so we can build a CE 4.0
   binary by linking in CE 3.0 ARM asm; the linker doesn't care. Windows
   Mobile/WinCE are backwards compatible with machine code like Desktop

   3. Download console-1.3-src.tar.gz from

   Extract it to a spaceless path but not into the perl build source.
   Don't extract it into the same directory as celib. Make a copy of the
   "wince-arm-pocket-wce300" folder and rename the copy to
   "wince-arm-pocket-wce400". This is a hack so we can build a CE 4.0
   binary by linking in CE 3.0 ARM asm; the linker doesn't care. Windows
   Mobile/WinCE are backwards compatible with machine code like Desktop

   4. Open a command prompt, run your regular batch file to set the
   environment for desktop Visual C building, goto the perl source
   directory, cd into win32/, fill out Makefile, and do a "nmake all" to
   build a Desktop Perl.

   5. Open win32/Makefile.ce in a text editor and do something similar to
   the following patch.

       -CELIBDLLDIR  = h:\src\wince\celib-palm-3.0
       -CECONSOLEDIR = h:\src\wince\w32console
       +CELIBDLLDIR  = C:\sources\celib-palm-3.0
       +CECONSOLEDIR = C:\sources\w32console

   Also change

       !if "$(MACHINE)" == ""


       !if "$(MACHINE)" == ""

   so wince-arm-pocket-wce400 is the MACHINE type.

   6. Use a text editor to open "C:\Program Files\Microsoft eMbedded C++
   4.0\EVC\WCE400\BIN\WCEARMV4.BAT". Look for

       if "%SDKROOT%"=="" set SDKROOT=...

   On a new install it is "C:\Windows CE Tools". Goto "C:\Windows CE
   Tools" in a file manager and see if "C:\Windows CE
   Tools\wce400\STANDARDSDK\Include\Armv4" exists on your disk. If not the
   SDKROOT need to be changed to "C:\Program Files\Windows CE Tools".

   Goto celib-palm-3.0\inc\cewin32.h, search for

       typedef struct _ABC {

   and uncomment the struct.

   7. Open another command prompt, ensure PLATFORM is not set to anything
   already unless you know what you're doing (so that the correct default
   value is set by the next command), and run "C:\Program Files\Microsoft
   eMbedded C++ 4.0\EVC\WCE400\BIN\WCEARMV4.BAT"

   8. In the WinCE command prompt you made with WCEARMV4.BAT, goto the
   perl source directory, cd into win32/ and run "nmake -f Makefile.ce".

   9. The ARM perl interpreter (perl519.dll and perl.exe) will be in
   something like "C:\perl519\src\win32\wince-arm-pocket-wce400", with the
   XS DLLs in "C:\perl519\src\xlib\wince-arm-hpc-wce400

   To prove success on the host machine, run "dumpbin /headers
   wince-arm-pocket-wce400\perl.exe" from the win32/ folder and look for
   "machine (ARM)" in the FILE HEADER VALUES and "subsystem (Windows CE

   This section describes the steps to be performed to build PerlCE.  You
   may find additional information about building perl for WinCE at
   <> and some pre-built binaries.

   Tools & SDK

   For compiling, you need following:

   *   Microsoft Embedded Visual Tools

   *   Microsoft Visual C++

   *   Rainer Keuchel's celib-sources

   *   Rainer Keuchel's console-sources

   Needed source files can be downloaded at


   Normally you only need to edit ./win32/ce-helpers/compile.bat to
   reflect your system and run it.

   File ./win32/ce-helpers/compile.bat is actually a wrapper to call
   "nmake -f makefile.ce" with appropriate parameters and it accepts extra
   parameters and forwards them to "nmake" command as additional
   arguments. You should pass target this way.

   To prepare distribution you need to do following:

   *   go to ./win32 subdirectory

   *   edit file ./win32/ce-helpers/compile.bat

   *   run

   *   run
         compile.bat dist

   Makefile.ce has "CROSS_NAME" macro, and it is used further to refer to
   your cross-compilation scheme. You could assign a name to it, but this
   is not necessary, because by default it is assigned after your machine
   configuration name, such as "wince-sh3-hpc-wce211", and this is enough
   to distinguish different builds at the same time. This option could be
   handy for several different builds on same platform to perform, say,
   threaded build. In a following example we assume that all required
   environment variables are set properly for C cross-compiler (a special
   *.bat file could fit perfectly to this purpose) and your compile.bat
   has proper "MACHINE" parameter set, to, say,

     compile.bat dist
     compile.bat CROSS_NAME=mips-wce300-thr "USE_ITHREADS=define" ^
       "USE_IMP_SYS=define" "USE_MULTI=define"
     compile.bat CROSS_NAME=mips-wce300-thr "USE_ITHREADS=define" ^
       "USE_IMP_SYS=define" "USE_MULTI=define" dist

   If all goes okay and no errors during a build, you'll get two
   independent distributions: "wince-mips-pocket-wce300" and

   Target "dist" prepares distribution file set. Target "zipdist" performs
   same as "dist" but additionally compresses distribution files into zip

   NOTE: during a build there could be created a number (or one) of for cross-compilation ("foreign" and those are
   hidden inside ../xlib/$(CROSS_NAME) with other auxiliary files, but,
   and this is important to note, there should be no for host
   miniperl.  If you'll get an error that perl could not find
   somewhere in building process this means something went wrong. Most
   probably you forgot to specify a cross-compilation when invoking
   miniperl.exe to Makefile.PL When building an extension for cross-
   compilation your command line should look like

     ..\miniperl.exe -I..\lib -MCross=mips-wce300-thr Makefile.PL

   or just

     ..\miniperl.exe -I..\lib -MCross Makefile.PL

   to refer a cross-compilation that was created last time.

   All questions related to building for WinCE devices could be asked in mailing list.

Using Perl on WinCE

   PerlCE is currently linked with a simple console window, so it also
   works on non-hpc devices.

   The simple stdio implementation creates the files stdin.txt, stdout.txt
   and stderr.txt, so you might examine them if your console has only a
   limited number of cols.

   When exitcode is non-zero, a message box appears, otherwise the console
   closes, so you might have to catch an exit with status 0 in your
   program to see any output.

   stdout/stderr now go into the files /perl-stdout.txt and

   PerlIDE is handy to deal with perlce.

   No fork(), pipe(), popen() etc.

   All environment vars must be stored in HKLM\Environment as strings.
   They are read at process startup.

       Usual perl lib path (semi-list).

       Semi-list for executables.

   TMP - Tempdir.

       - Root for accessing some special files, i.e. /dev/null,

       - Rows/cols for console.

       - Home directory.

       - Size for console font.

   You can set these with cereg.exe, a (remote) registry editor or via the

   To start perl by clicking on a perl source file, you have to make the
   according entries in HKCR (see ce-helpers/wince-reg.bat).  cereg.exe
   (which must be executed on a desktop pc with ActiveSync) is reported
   not to work on some devices.  You have to create the registry entries
   by hand using a registry editor.

   The following Win32-Methods are built-in:

           newXS("Win32::GetCwd", w32_GetCwd, file);
           newXS("Win32::SetCwd", w32_SetCwd, file);
           newXS("Win32::GetTickCount", w32_GetTickCount, file);
           newXS("Win32::GetOSVersion", w32_GetOSVersion, file);
           newXS("Win32::IsWinNT", w32_IsWinNT, file);
           newXS("Win32::IsWin95", w32_IsWin95, file);
           newXS("Win32::IsWinCE", w32_IsWinCE, file);
           newXS("Win32::CopyFile", w32_CopyFile, file);
           newXS("Win32::Sleep", w32_Sleep, file);
           newXS("Win32::MessageBox", w32_MessageBox, file);
           newXS("Win32::GetPowerStatus", w32_GetPowerStatus, file);
           newXS("Win32::GetOemInfo", w32_GetOemInfo, file);
           newXS("Win32::ShellEx", w32_ShellEx, file);

   Opening files for read-write is currently not supported if they use
   stdio (normal perl file handles).

   If you find bugs or if it does not work at all on your device, send
   mail to the address below. Please report the details of your device
   (processor, ceversion, devicetype (hpc/palm/pocket)) and the date of
   the downloaded files.

   Currently installation instructions are at

   After installation & testing processes will stabilize, information will
   be more precise.


   The port for Win32 was used as a reference.

History of WinCE port

       Initial port of perl to WinCE. It was performed in separate
       directory named wince. This port was based on contents of ./win32
       directory.  miniperl was not built, user must have HOST perl and
       properly edit makefile.ce to reflect this.

       wince port was kept in the same ./wince directory, and
       wince/Makefile.ce was used to invoke native compiler to create HOST
       miniperl, which then facilitates cross-compiling process.
       Extension building support was added.

       Two directories ./win32 and ./wince were merged, so perlce build
       process comes in ./win32 directory.


   Rainer Keuchel <>
       provided initial port of Perl, which appears to be most essential
       work, as it was a breakthrough on having Perl ported at all.  Many
       thanks and obligations to Rainer!

   Vadim Konovalov
       made further support of WinCE port.

   Daniel Dragan
       updated the build process during the 5.19 development track.


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