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mingw32 DLLs, threads and exceptions HOWTO

Dear all,

this is a summary that should help users to have thread safe exception
handling over DLL exported functions.
If you don't care about c++ exceptions you can stop reading here.

The first time i struggled with c++ exceptions was when i tried to throw an
exception in a dll exported function where the exception handler resides in
the program module.
Instead of catching the exception the program stopped with an abnormal
The reason was that the exception code is in libgcc.a. Since this is a
static library the code and some static variables are both in the dll and in
the program module, each module runs in its own context.
It was Franco Bez that pointed me in the right direction, that is convert
libgcc.a into a dll.

That done i tried to build the pthreads-win32 library, but some tests failed
with an access violation. Due to the fact that the dll was not build
was -mthreads support, eh_context_static instead of eh_context_specific (the
mthreads version) was used for exception handling.
I did a rebuild of the gcc dll with -mthreads, now all tests are passed
(except a nonportable exception test that relies on a MSVC feature).

To build the gcc dll i did the following steps.

1. create a temporary directory libgcc
2. copy libgcc.a from gcc-2.95.2\lib\gcc-lib\i386-mingw32\gcc-2.95.2 to that
3. ar -x libgcc.a
4. create a directory tmp and move __main.o, _exit.o and __dummy.o in that
5. build the dll
gcc -shared -mthreads -o gcc.dll *.o
strip gcc.dll
Move this dll into your gcc\bin directory
6. Move _chkstk.o and frame.o to the tmp directory, otherwise you break the
builtin alloca.
7. Build the import library libgcc.a
dllwrap --export-all --dllname=gcc.dll --output-def=libgcc.def --output-lib=
libgcc.a *.o
ar -q libgcc.a tmp/*.o
strip --strip-debug libgcc.a
ranlib libgcc.a
8. save your old libgcc.a, copy the new libgcc.a into

I am using gcc-2.95.2-1 with Mumits patched binutils-19990818-1and msvcrt
I don't know if this is still required with the current binutils and gcc
since i have seen no sources until now.

I believe that these steps are at least necessary if you are trying to use
the pthreads-win32 library (which is required if you want to use gtk+ on
They will make mingw32 a real replacement for MSVC (at least for me).

What is left:

1. Include the mingwm10.dll function into the gcc.dll to have only one dll
2. make -mthreads and -fnative-struct default compiler options.
3. convert libstdc++ to a dll by adding the declspec dllexport and dllimport
to every class definition.


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