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Rafaël Garcia-Suarez > perl-5.9.3 > perlce


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perlce - Perl for WinCE

Building Perl for WinCE ^


This file gives the instructions for building Perl5.8 and above for WinCE. Please read and understand the terms under which this software is distributed.

General explanations on cross-compiling WinCE


This section describes the steps to be performed to build PerlCE. You may find additional information about building perl for WinCE at and some pre-built binaries.

Tools & SDK

For compiling, you need following:

Needed source files can be downloaded at


Normally you only need to edit ./wince/compile.bat to reflect your system and run it.

File ./wince/compile.bat is actually a wrapper to call nmake -f makefile.ce with appropriate parameters and it accepts extra parameters and forwards them to "nmake" command as additional arguments. You should pass target this way.

To prepare distribution you need to do following:

makefile.ce has CROSS_NAME macro, and it is used further to refer to your cross-compilation scheme. You could assign a name to it, but this is not necessary, because by default it is assigned after your machine configuration name, such as "wince-sh3-hpc-wce211", and this is enough to distinguish different builds at the same time. This option could be handy for several different builds on same platform to perform, say, threaded build. In a following example we assume that all required environment variables are set properly for C cross-compiler (a special *.bat file could fit perfectly to this purpose) and your compile.bat has proper "MACHINE" parameter set, to, say, "wince-mips-pocket-wce300".

  compile.bat dist
  compile.bat CROSS_NAME=mips-wce300-thr "USE_ITHREADS=define" "USE_IMP_SYS=define" "USE_MULTI=define"
  compile.bat CROSS_NAME=mips-wce300-thr "USE_ITHREADS=define" "USE_IMP_SYS=define" "USE_MULTI=define" dist

If all goes okay and no errors during a build, you'll get two independent distributions: "wince-mips-pocket-wce300" and "mips-wce300-thr".

Target 'dist' prepares distribution file set. Target 'zipdist' performs same as 'dist' but additionally compresses distribution files into zip archive.

NOTE: during a build there could be created a number (or one) of for cross-compilation ("foreign" and those are hidden inside ../xlib/$(CROSS_NAME) with other auxilary files, but, and this is important to note, there should be *no* for host miniperl. If you'll get an error that perl could not find somewhere in building process this means something went wrong. Most probably you forgot to specify a cross-compilation when invoking miniperl.exe to Makefile.PL When building an extension for cross-compilation your command line should look like

  ..\miniperl.exe -I..\lib -MCross=mips-wce300-thr Makefile.PL

or just

  ..\miniperl.exe -I..\lib -MCross Makefile.PL

to refer a cross-compilation that was created last time.

All questions related to building for WinCE devices could be asked in mailing list.

Using Perl on WinCE ^


PerlCE is currently linked with a simple console window, so it also works on non-hpc devices.

The simple stdio implementation creates the files stdin.txt, stdout.txt and stderr.txt, so you might examine them if your console has only a liminted number of cols.

When exitcode is non-zero, a message box appears, otherwise the console closes, so you might have to catch an exit with status 0 in your program to see any output.

stdout/stderr now go into the files /perl-stdout.txt and /perl-stderr.txt.


No fork(), pipe(), popen() etc.


All environment vars must be stored in HKLM\Environment as strings. They are read at process startup.

        PERL5LIB        - Usual perl lib path (semi-list).
        PATH            - Semi-list for executables.
        TMP             - Tempdir.
        UNIXROOTPATH    - Root for accessing some special files,
                          i.e. /dev/null, /etc/services.
        ROWS/COLS       - Rows/cols for console.
        HOME            - Home directory.
        CONSOLEFONTSIZE - Size for console font.

You can set these with cereg.exe, a (remote) registry editor or via the PerlIDE.


To start perl by clicking on a perl source file, you have to make the according entries in HKCR (see wince-reg.bat). cereg.exe (which must be executed on a desktop pc with ActiveSync) is reported not to work on some devices. You have to create the registry entries by hand using a registry editor.


The following files are a reasonable minimum if you want to do some socket stuff:



The following Win32-Methods are built-in:

        newXS("Win32::GetCwd", w32_GetCwd, file);
        newXS("Win32::SetCwd", w32_SetCwd, file);
        newXS("Win32::GetTickCount", w32_GetTickCount, file);
        newXS("Win32::GetOSVersion", w32_GetOSVersion, file);
        newXS("Win32::IsWinNT", w32_IsWinNT, file);
        newXS("Win32::IsWin95", w32_IsWin95, file);
        newXS("Win32::IsWinCE", w32_IsWinCE, file);
        newXS("Win32::CopyFile", w32_CopyFile, file);
        newXS("Win32::Sleep", w32_Sleep, file);
        newXS("Win32::MessageBox", w32_MessageBox, file);
        newXS("Win32::GetPowerStatus", w32_GetPowerStatus, file);
        newXS("Win32::GetOemInfo", w32_GetOemInfo, file);
        newXS("Win32::ShellEx", w32_ShellEx, file);


Opening files for read-write is currently not supported if they use stdio (normal perl file handles).

If you find bugs or if it does not work at all on your device, send mail to the address below. Please report the details of your device (processor, ceversion, devicetype (hpc/palm/pocket)) and the date of the downloaded files.


Currently installation instructions are at

After installation & testing processes will stabilize, information will be more precise.


The port for Win32 was used as a reference.


Rainer Keuchel <>

provided initial port of Perl, which appears to be most essential work, as it was a breakthrough on having Perl ported at all. Many thanks and obligations to Rainer!

Vadim Konovalov

made further support of WinCE port.

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