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Madagascar has been run on Microsoft Windows machines, but there are several dependencies.

Madagascar runs under Cygwin, which provides a Unix-like environment under Windows.

To obtain Cygwin, go to its web page, download and run the installer. This should create a Cygwin program, which when run, creates a POSIX shell window similar-looking to the Windows command window but which behaves in a more Unix-like way.

NOTE: If you are unfamiliar with Unix-like systems, a good place to start is Greg Wilson's Software Carpentry course.


You will need to install several additional Cygwin components before Madagascar can run. To get these, rerun the installer program (called Setup and represented by an icon with a black "C" shape enclosing a green arrow).

  1. Start Setup program.
  2. Keep clicking (defaults should work, but please choose a mirror on your own continent) until you see a collapsed list (boxed "+" signs) in a selection box.
  3. Choose all of the following before downloading.
    1. Open the Devel section and select the following:
      • gcc
      If you want to use the development version of Madagascar, also choose
      • subversion
    2. If you have a favorite unix editor, also choose it under Editors (novices may wish to work with Notepad for a while). Both vim and emacs are available.
    3. Open Interpreters and select
      • python
    4. Open Libs and select
      • sunrpc
    5. Open X11 and select
      • xorg-x11-devel
  4. Next, click Next>
    Your download will proceed.
  5. When done, click Finish.

You will need to ensure that X applications can be started from the cygwin command line. Type xterm and ensure that an X terminal appears.

If you use xming, it is necessary to ensure that the environment variable DISPLAY is set to :0 before trying to run xterm.

Once you have verified that you can display xwindows from cygwin, you should be ready to do a normal Madagascar Installation

To set environment variables

on a per-session basis, type:

export <variablename>=<variablevalue>, for example

export DISPLAY=:0

sets the value of DISPLAY to ":0" which is appropriate for xming.

To make this selection "sticky" (permanent until you change the file) change to your cygwin home by typing


and edit the file ".bash_profile" putting the desired environment variables in there.

NOTE: Windows and subversion cannot handle the same paths. Be sure you install madagascar into a path where there is no whitespace in the directory names.