15. GMT on non-UNIX Platforms

15.1. Introduction

While GMT was ported to non-UNIX systems such as Windows, it is also true that one of the strengths of GMT lies its symbiotic relationship with UNIX. We therefore recommend that GMT be installed in a POSIX-compliant UNIX environment such as traditional UNIX-systems, Linux, or Mac OS X. If abandoning your non-UNIX operating system is not an option, consider one of these solutions:


Choose among these three possibilities:

  1. Install GMT under MinGW/MSYS (A collection of GNU utilities).
  2. Install GMT under Cygwin (A GNU port to Windows).
  3. Install GMT in Windows using Microsoft C/C++ or other compilers. Unlike the first two, this option will not provide you with any UNIX tools so you will be limited to what you can do with DOS batch files.

15.2. Cygwin and GMT

Because GMT works best in conjugation with UNIX tools we suggest you install GMT using the Cygwin product from Cygnus (now assimilated by Redhat, Inc.). This free version works on any Windows version and it comes with both the Bourne Again shell bash and the tcsh. You also have access to most standard GNU development tools such as compilers and text processing tools (awk, grep, sed, etc.). Note that executables prepared for Windows will also run under Cygwin.

Follow the instructions on the Cygwin page on how to install the package; note you must explicitly add all the development tool packages (e.g., gcc etc) as the basic installation does not include them by default. Once you are up and running under Cygwin, you may install GMT the same way you do under any other UNIX platform; our wiki has instructions for packages you need to install first.

Finally, from Cygwin’s User Guide: By default, no Cygwin program can allocate more than 384 MB of memory (program and data). You should not need to change this default in most circumstances. However, if you need to use more real or virtual memory in your machine you may add an entry in either the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE (to change the limit for all users) or HKEY_CURRENT_USER (for just the current user) section of the registry. Add the DWORD value heap_chunk_in_mb and set it to the desired memory limit in decimal Mb. It is preferred to do this in Cygwin using the regtool program included in the Cygwin package. (For more information about regtool or the other Cygwin utilities, see the Section called Cygwin Utilities in Chapter 3 of the Cygwin’s User Guide or use the help option of each utility.) You should always be careful when using regtool since damaging your system registry can result in an unusable system. This example sets the local machine memory limit to 1024 Mb:

regtool -i set /HKLM/Software/Cygnus\ Solutions/Cygwin/heap_chunk_in_mb 1024
regtool -v list /HKLM/Software/Cygnus\ Solutions/Cygwin

For more installation details see the general README file.

15.3. MINGW|MSYS and GMT

Though one can install GMT natively using CMake, the simplest way of installing under MINGW|MSYS is to just install the Windows binaries and use them from the msys bash shell. As simple as that. Furthermore, GMT programs launch faster here than on Cygwin so this is the recommended way of running GMT on Windows.