PERLCE(1)              Perl Programmers Reference Guide              PERLCE(1)

       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       Much of this document has become very out of date and needs updating,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       which are largely superseded but may still contain some useful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
       o   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

       o   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.

       o   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\auto".

       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:

       o   Microsoft Embedded Visual Tools

       o   Microsoft Visual C++

       o   Rainer Keuchel's celib-sources

       o   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:

       o   go to ./win32 subdirectory

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

       o   run

       o   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.

perl v5.26.1                      2020-10-19                         PERLCE(1)
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