MinGW, a contraction of "Minimalist GNU for Windows", is a minimalist development environment for native Microsoft Windows applications. MinGW provides a complete Open Source programming tool set which is suitable for the development of native MS-Windows applications, and which do not depend on any 3rd-party C-Runtime DLLs. (It does depend on a number of DLLs provided by Microsoft themselves, as components of the operating system; most notable among these is MSVCRT.DLL, the Microsoft C runtime library. Additionally, threaded applications must ship with a freely distributable thread support DLL, provided as part of MinGW itself). MinGW compilers provide access to the functionality of the Microsoft C runtime and some language-specific runtimes. MinGW, being Minimalist, does not, and never will, attempt to provide a POSIX runtime environment for POSIX application deployment on MS-Windows. If you want POSIX application deployment on this platform, please consider Cygwin instead. Primarily intended for use by developers working on the native MS-Windows platform, but also available for cross-hosted use, (see note below -- you may need to follow the "read more" link to see it), MinGW includes: A port of the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC), including C, C++, ADA and Fortran compilers; GNU Binutils for Windows (assembler, linker, archive manager) A graphical and a command-line installer for MinGW and MSYS deployment on MS-Windows MSYS, a contraction of "Minimal SYStem", is a Bourne Shell command line interpreter system. Offered as an alternative to Microsoft's cmd.exe, this provides a general purpose command line environment, which is particularly suited to use with MinGW, for porting of many Open Source applications to the MS-Windows platform; a light-weight fork of Cygwin-1.3, it includes a small selection of Unix tools, chosen to facilitate that objective, and using it is a necessary prerequisite for building mingwPORTs. mingwPORTs are user contributed additions to the MinGW software collection. Rather than providing these "add-ons" as precompiled binary packages, they are supplied in the form of interactive Bourne shell scripts, which guide the end user through the process of automatically downloading and patching original source code, then building and installing it. Users who wish to build any application from a mingwPORT must first install both MinGW and MSYS.