Reference implementation currently too hard to install in Windows

Dave Herman dherman at
Tue Oct 30 13:34:39 PDT 2007

Hi Jonathan,

Thanks for the feedback; I agree the Windows build is too hard to 
install. Last I checked it wasn't possible to build Windows binaries 
with SML/NJ. I will talk to my contacts who work on SML/NJ and see if 
there's something we can do to make this more seamless.

Thanks again for the detailed feedback!


Jonathan Watt wrote:
> Hi,
> First of all, I think making the reference implementation available to everyone
> is a great idea. Thanks for that. Unfortunately, at this early stage, I think
> the barriers too getting it running are too high for your average ECMAScripter
> with only Windows experience. If one of the aims is to collect feedback on, and
> encourage experience with, ES4, then these really need to be lowered. Some of
> these barriers include:
>  * No link to cygwin on the download page.
>  * No mention of which options to choose when installing cygwin (just say
>    "accept the defaults"? Or not? (I already had it installed, so I'm not
>    sure if the defaults are enough)).
>  * The Microsoft Windows section on the SML/NJ page links to a zip and
>    WININSTALL file but, after messing around with that, I figure out it's
>    not the one to use with cygwin.
>  * I notice there's also a CYGWININSTALL file linked to on the SML/NJ page
>    (and it could be clearer about the fact I should use it and then the
>    Unix download and INSTALL instructions)
>  * The instructions in CYGWININSTALL assume too much from the perspective of
>    your average Windows ECMAScripter (what is "binmode", "manpage" and
>    where and how do you set up a cygwin environment to automatically
>    "export the environment variable").
>  * The contents of the INSTALL file are themselves a barrier to your
>    average Windows user.
>  * On following the CYGWININSTALL and then Unix INSTALL instructions I get
>    the error:
>      /usr/share/smlnj/bin/.link-sml: line 45:
>        /home/jwatt/smlnj/bin/.arch-n-opsys: No such file or directory
>      : unable to determine architecture/operating system
>      config/ !!! Boot code failed, no heap image (sml.x86-cygwin).
>    And yes, I had SMLNJ_CYGWIN_RUNTIME exported.
> Since I personally have a little cygwin/unix shell experience I could continue
> on and try to figure out what I did wrong, but that's besides the point I think.
> Making all these problems go away by providing a native Windows installer would
> be ideal, but until that happens, could someone add step-by-step instructions
> for Windows dummies who don't care to experience the pain required to figure out
> how to get things working in a Unix environment? I assuming most ECMAScripters
> on Windows fall into this camp.
> Again, thanks for your efforts to make the reference implementation available to
> all, and I hope the above is helpful in that regard.
> Regards,
> Jonathan
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