Installing the Cygwin Toolset in Borland C++ BuilderX

By: Daniel Horn

Abstract: This paper shows how to add a new toolset, Cygwin (for this particular example), to Borland C++ Builder X.

Installing the Cygwin Toolset in Borland C++ BuilderX

By Daniel Horn


Borland C++ BuilderX (BCBX) includes a powerful IDE in which a developer can add an arbitrary collection of tools, a toolset, with which to build their projects.  We will take a specific toolset, Cygwin, and add it to BCBX under Windows.  

Using an existing toolset as a model, it is a fairly straightforward procedure to add a new toolset.  The basic procedure is to copy the set of configuration files for an existing toolset that is similar to your new toolset and modify them.  

What follows is a brief description of my experiences doing this, some of the additional details you will need to know to work successfully with Cygwin, as well as a few things to watch out for.



This work was done using the first release of Borland C++ BuilderX running under Windows XP.

The sample toolset and tool files (in the zip file located at and the work described in this paper provide just enough functionality to use the Cygwin tools to compile, link, and debug the "Welcome" sample program that appears when you first launch BCBX.  Mileage may vary: there is no guarantee that all of the functionality you need will be provided.  In fact, if you want functionality that is a proper superset of that provided by MinGW, then you will almost certainly have to make additional changes to the tool files.

Neither Borland nor Cygwin had anything to do with the work contained in this paper;  no official endorsement by either should be assumed.

What is Cygwin?

Cygwin is a set of tools similar to those normally available on Linux but available for Windows.  The available tools include such items as gcc, g++, gdb, make, ar, bash, and less.

Download and Install Cygwin:

Before we begin, you'll need to download and install Cygwin from its web site  I used version 1.5.5-1 which was the latest version at the time of this writing.

What you download is actually a small program, setup.exe.  Running it is fairly self-explanatory.  Though you can do it in one fell swoop, when I used it, I chose to run it in two passes:

  • first, to select and download the components I wanted (on the "Choose Installation Type" page of the setup, choose "Download from Internet");
  • second, to perform the actual installation ("Install from Local Directory" on the "Choose Installation Type" page).

Note that the development tools are not selected by default in the setup program.  On the "Select Packages" screen of the setup, expand the "Devel" category and choose the actual tools you want. In my case, I choose gcc (GCC C compiler), gcc-g++ (GCC C++ compiler), make, gdb (GNU debugger), bison (a yacc compatible parser generator), and byacc.  Adding these will automatically add other dependent tools such as binutils (assembler, linker, and other utilities).

In the version I used, there was a bug in the setup that missed a necessary dependency.  So to avoid trouble, also select the "libpcre0: Perl-Compatible Regular Expressions library" item under "Libs".

The install creates a menu item and icon on your Windows desktop for starting a Cygwin bash shell.  Alternatively, if you prefer to run from an ordinary command line session under Windows, you'll need to add the appropriate cygwin directories to your path. For example, the sample batch file has the following:

	set path=c:/cygwin/usr/local/bin;c:/cygwin/usr/bin;c:/cygwin/bin;c:/cygwin/usr/X11R6/bin;%PATH%

In practice, all that I really needed to add was "c:/cygwin/bin" as no tools were actually installed in the other locations.

After running the install, try a simple test to make sure that the components are installed correctly.  My test was simple.  I just tried to run some of the tools, like "less".  

Note that you may receive an error message (as I did) saying that a dll, cygpcre-0.dll, could not be found.  This is the setup bug I mentioned earlier.  To fix, just run the setup again and add the missing component (in this case, the "libpcre0: Perl-Compatible Regular Expressions library" item under "Libs").

The final point to be aware of here is that you can always run the setup at any time later on to add any missing or newly desired component.  I initially forgot to add the gdb debugger for Cygwin and this was all I had to do fix the problem.


Adding the New Toolset to Borland C++X:

The toolsets used by BCBX are located in your /CBuilderX/toolsets directory.

To get started, I decided to use a similar toolset as a model, that is, I copied the files associated with MinGW toolset (MinGW is the minimalist version of the GNU tools for Windows development) which is included with BCBX when installed on Windows.  In particular, I copied the "MinGW.toolset" file to a new file named "Cygwin.toolset" and I copied the "MinGW" subdirectory to a new subdirectory named "Cygwin".

If you compare the new versions of the toolset and tool files (in the .zip file associated with this article at with the originals, you'll notice that all I changed were names, descriptions, and paths.

If you restart BCBX, you can see that these tools are automatically loaded by selecting the Tools | Build Tools... menu item.

If BCBX is already running, just choose "Tools | Reload Toolsets" whenever you add or modify a toolset.


Using the New Toolset:

Let's use our new toolset to compile and link a Windows program.

Before doing this, I wanted to make sure that I actually used the new Cygwin tools instead of the preinstalled MinGW tools.  I renamed my "C:/CBuilderX/mingw" directory to "C:/CBuilderX/1mingw" to ensure that any path or directory settings that might accidentally use them will fail to find them.  

*** If you do this too, remember to give the directory back its original name when you are all finished testing.

To test the new toolset, open the Welcome.cbx sample project that comes with BCBX.  Right click on "Welcome.cbx" in the project pane and choose the Build Options Explorer.
Change the toolset from "Borland Win32 Compiler Tools" to the newly added "Cygwin for Windows".

Then try to rebuild the project.  

The first time I tried this I received an error message box with the caption "cc1plus.exe - Unable to Locate Component" and message "This application 
failed to start because cygwin1.dll was not found."  This error message indicated that I needed to add the cygwin/bin directory to my path which you can do within BCBX using the Project | Project Properties ... dialog.  In the "Variables" tab, you can modify the path; I added "c:/cygwin/bin" near the front of my path to ensure that any name conflicts resolve first to those provided by Cygwin.



To debug the program built with the toolset, you will need to make one additional change to your project.

Open Project | Project Properties... and choose the "Debug" tab.
Choose the "General" tab (within the "Debug" tab) and verify that the "Default debugger of toolset" item is selected in the "Debugger" combobox.  (The debugger that works with the toolset is determined by the "debugger" tag in the toolset file.)

Then choose the "GDB Debugger" tab to set the location of the action gdb executable (e.g., C:/cygwin/bin/gdb.exe) .

(If not already selected, choose the Debug Build configuration for the program and rebuild to make sure that debug information is available).

Then set a breakpoint in your program and start it in the debugger.  (If your breakpoints don't work, check that the path to gdb is correct and that debug info was actually created).

Using Other Tools:

I also used the Cygwin toolset to build a project created using File | New... | Project from Make.

There were only two issues here needed for this to work:

  • right click on the "Makefile" in the project pane, choose Properties, and set the "Make Program" to the correct path to the make utility.
  • add c:/cygwin/bin to the project's path variable (in Project Properties | Variables).


What's Next:

For more authoritative information on toolsets, look for the "Build Tools and Toolsets" and "Adding Custom Toolsets" topics in the BCBX help.  Also, the toolsetdoc.html and tooldoc.html files in the /CBuilderX/toolsets directory document the XML schemas used in .toolset and .tool files.

Note that I chose to start with the MinGW toolset.  For your work, you might prefer to use the gnucplus toolset or the tool files in the gnucplus or gnucommon directories as your starting point.  In practice, you might find that your Cygwin toolset takes elements from both gnucplus and mingw.  For example, you might add a <canexecuteonidehostplatform> tag for windows to a toolset file similar to gnucplus.toolset.

Questions, comments, and suggestions may be sent to the author at ; use the title of the article or the words BDN Article in the email subject.

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