Graphics, Game Dev, Emulators, and other geeky stuff

node.js on cygwin

I’ve been playing with node.js a bit recently and really loving it. The only problem I have is that it doesn’t run on cygwin, and my WebGL stuff doesn’t yet work well on OS X, and I really don’t feel like messing with VMs and all that stuff. So, now I’m trying to get it working under cygwin. Here are some of the hacks I’ve used:

  • install cygwin 1.7 as it has ipv6 support and other things needed by nodejs and its dependencies
  • add to /usr/include/pthread.h: int pthread_atfork(void (*prepare)(void), void (*parent)(void), void (*child)(void)); (it exists, but isn’t declared)
  • sync to the latest master branch of nodejs
  • apply the patches
  • ./configure && make install

Patch 1 is a small diff that allows the V8 build tools to identify cygwin as ‘win32’. Whether or not this is the right thing to do I do not know, but it seems to work. The next bit is to replace __MINGW32__ macros with __GNUC__ macros in the Win32-specific platform code where the functionality that was being guarded is the same on both MinGW and cygwin. There are only a few minor differences.

Patch 2 contains some minor changes that allow cygwin to be recognized as a platform (maybe not the right thing to do?) and to switch off the LINKFLAGS for V8 based on that. The trick to getting a successful link of node.exe is to make sure that libwinmm.a and libws2_32.a are passed to g++ AFTER libv8.a. If the ordering is any different it will fail to link. Unfortunate I don’t know anything about this WAF stuff, so I just found a reasonable location and hacked the references in there. It works, but may not be ‘correct’.

Patch 3 adds utils.IsCygwin() to make some of the logic cleaner and fixes up the V8 and node test scripts. The node tests run, but a few fail with segfaults for some unknown (to me) reason. I suck at debugging with gdb, and until I get some crashes in my code I’m going to ignore them.

These patches should be rolled up, but I don’t know a clean way to do that.

node.exe should appear under /usr/local/bin (with extras under /usr/local/lib and /usr/local/include). Cygwin has these paths setup by default, so you should be able to just do ‘node -v’ and be ready to go!

If you are like me and lazy, you can download a pre-built version of node on cygwin 1.7. Extract this to /usr/local/.

Disclaimer: I have no clue what I’m doing and this is all probably very, very wrong. I haven’t tested this with anything besides a few of my little node projects, and I can’t support you if your stuff doesn’t work.

5 thoughts on node.js on cygwin

  1. It doesn’t seem stable: too much segmentation faults. But hey! its node.js in Windows. I love that. Thank you very much. I’ll keep doing test to better know the platform.

  2. Yeah – some of the tests fail nice and reproducibly – but the stuff I’ve been doing so far is ok. I’m only using file IO and TCP sockets, though, which is a pretty small surface. My hope would be that someone with more skills at debugging with gdb (and v8) would be able to figure out the cause, as they are fairly bizarre.

  3. Ok. I hope that the “hype” about Node.js bring some gdb expert to take a look. Anyway IO and TCP seems enough for me too. Thank you.

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