Having SDL family libraries built on cygwin/MinGW

Hi all,

within our little game creation club we tried to write an automatic net
installer for our game library and all its main pre-requesites (namely,
libtool, SDL, SDL_image and its fellows [zlib, jpeglib, pnglib],
SDL_gfx, FreeType and SDL_ttf, and so on). This net installer was to
automatically compile everything from sources so that we keep complete
control over the tool chain.

Whereas on Linux all went fine, the Windows (actually, the target
platform is a cygwin environment hosting an up-to-date and complete
MinGW set of tools) port of our little tool degenerated in a kind of
nightmare, most of the tools needing various changes in order to have
the slightest chance of being built. We eventually ended up (after days
of hard and dull work on the Windows side) with messy issues with
libtool which make us consider that the full blown auto installer
working on Windows was out of range for the moment, even with some
trade-offs such as using some availalble prebuilt binaries. Here are my
questions :
- how on earth were generated the Windows binaries to be found in
libsdl site for SDL_image and all the other helper libraries ? I was
unable to find a build system which would work with open-source tools
(autoconf and/or configure and/or makefile, libtool, MinGW to build them
), and I suspect they were built thanks to Visual C++ only ? If so, how
could we overcome this choice ? My concern is that, even if we were to
use those binaries (a kind of renunciation, from my point of view) it
may result in odd results since, as far as I know (I might be wrong,
please correct me if needed), if the DLL were to include at least some
C++ parts, there should exist a version for each compiler and exception
handling scheme. For most helper libraries, it is not for the moment a
real issue, since they are mostly written in C, but game libraries we
build on top of it are most likely to be C++, so…
- more generally speaking, I guess there must be numerous
open-source projects using the SDL family that need to support the
Windows platform, even relunctantly, since most users, and some
developers too, need it. Apart cross-compiling (which I did not try
yet), did some of these projects succeed in building their C++ binaries
under Cygwin/MinGW with a common GNU-ish build system with libtool and,
if so, how ? Any hint would be welcome, since we cannot afford Visual
Studio stuff and would like to remove it from the loop (not to mention
we strongly believe in the open source model)…

By the way, I do not know whether a cross-platform automatic net
installer from sources for main SDL helper libraries would be useful for
other projects, but I would happily share what we did with anybody, so
that it might be improved, better tested or more widespread.

Thanks in advance for any hint,
kind regards,