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FreeType 2 compilation how-to
Welcome to this new beta of the FreeType 2 library. You'll find in this
document instructions on how to compile the library on your favorite
*** UNIX USERS : Even though the FT2 build system doesn't
************** : use the Autoconf/Automake tools, these will
************** : be introduced in the Unix-specific parts of
************** : the build in our final release..
Install GNU Make, then try the following on Unix or any system with gcc:
make // this will setup the build
make // this will build the library
On Win32+Visual C++:
make setup visualc // setup the build for VisualC++ on Win32
make // build the library
Then, go to the "demos" directory and type
To compile the demo programs..
If this doesn't work, read the following..
Note that if you do not want to compile FreeType 2 from a command line
shell, please skip to section III below (DETAILED COMPILATION)
FreeType 2 includes a powerful and flexible build system that allows you
to easily compile it on a great variety of platforms from the command
line. To do so, just follow these simple instructions:
a/ Install GNU Make:
Because GNU Make is the only Make tool supported to compile FreeType 2,
you should install it on your machine.
Because the FT2 build system relies on many important features of GNU
Make, trying to build the library with any other Make tool will *fail*.
b/ Invoke "make":
Go to the root FT2 directory, then simply invoke GNU Make from the
command line, this will launch the FreeType 2 Host Platform detection
routines. A summary will be displayed, for example, on Win32:
FreeType build system -- automatic system detection
The following settings are used:
platform win32
compiler gcc
configuration directory ./config/win32
configuration rules ./config/win32/
If this does not correspond to your system or settings please remove
the file '' from this directory then read the INSTALL file
for help.
Otherwise, simply type 'make' again to build the library.
If the detected settings correspond to your platform and compiler,
skip to step e/. Note that if your platform is completely alien to
the build system, the detected platform will be "ansi".
c/ Configure the build system for a different compiler:
If the build system correctly detected your platform, but you want to
use a different compiler than the one specified in the summary (for
most platforms, gcc is the defaut compiler), simply invoke GNU Make
like :
make setup <compiler>
For example:
to use Visual C++ on Win32, type: "make setup visualc"
to use LCC-Win32 on Win32, type: "make setup lcc"
The <compiler> name to use is platform-dependent. The list of available
compilers for your system is available in the file
"config/<system>/" (note that we hope to make the list
displayed at user demand in the final release)..
If you're satisfying by the new configuration summary, skip to step e/
d/ Configure the build system for an unknown platform/compiler:
What the auto-detection/setup phase of the build system does is simply
copy a file to the current directory under the name "".
For example, on OS/2+gcc, it would simply copy "config/os2/"
to "./"
If for some reason your platform isn't correctly detected, simply copy
manually the configuration sub-makefile to "./" and go to
step e/.
Note that this file is a sub-Makefile used to specify Make variables
used to invoke the compiler and linker during the build, you can easily
create your own version from one of the existing configuration files,
then copy it to the current directory under the name "./".
e/ Build the library:
The auto-detection/setup phase should have copied a file in the current
directory, called "./". This file contains definitions of various
Make variables used to invoke the compiler and linker during the build.
To launch the build, simply invoke GNU Make again: the top Makefile will
detect the configuration file and run the build with it..
f/ Build the demonstration programs:
Once the library is compiled, go to "demos", then invoke GNU Make.
Note that the demonstration programs include a tiny graphics sub-system
that includes "drivers" to display Windows on Win32, X11 and OS/2. The
build system should automatically detect which driver to use based on
the current platform.
If you don't want to compile FreeType 2 from the command-line (for example
from a graphical IDE on a Mac or Windows), you'll need to understand how the
FreeType files are organized.
First of all, all configuration files are located in "freetype2/config",
with system-specific overrides in "freetype2/config/<system>". You should
always place "config/<system>" and "config" in your compilation include
path, **in this order**
Also, place the directory "include" in the compilation include path, as
well as "src/base" and "src/shared"
Now, FreeType 2 is a very modular design, made of several distinct components.
Each component can be compiler either as a stand-alone object file, or as a
list of independent objects.
For example, the "base layer" is made of the following independent source
You can compile each of these files separately.
Another method is to compile the file "src/base/ftbase.c" which performs
a simple include on all these individual files. This will compile the whole
base layer as a single object file.
Note that through careful macro definitions, compiling a module as a single
component avoids the generation of many externals (that really correspond
to intra-module dependencies) and provide greater optimisations possibilities.
Similarly, each component has a single "englobing" C file to compile it
as a stand-alone object, i.e. :
src/base/ftbase.c - the base layer, high-level interface
src/sfnt/sfnt.c - the "sfnt" module
src/psnames/psnames.c - the Postscript Names module
src/truetype/truetype.c - the TrueType font driver
src/type1/type1.c - the Type 1 font driver
Now, you can decide how to compile each module, and add the corresponding
object files to your library..