MiniGUI API Reference (MiniGUI-Standalone)  v4.0.7
A mature and proven cross-platform GUI system for embedded and smart IoT devices

A mature and proven cross-platform GUI system for embedded and smart IoT devices.



MiniGUI is a mature cross-platform windowing system and a GUI (Graphics User Interface) support system for embedded systems and smart IoT devices. This is the version 4.0.x of MiniGUI maintained by WEI Yongming.

MiniGUI is released under GPLv3 and the dual-licensing applies to commercial use.

MiniGUI aims to provide a fast, stable, full-featured, and cross-platform windowing and GUI support system, which is especially fit for embedded systems or smart IoT devices based-on Linux/uClinux, eCos, and other traditional RTOSes, such as RT-Thread, FreeRTOS, RTEMS, VxWorks, ThreadX, Nucleus, pSOS, uC/OS-II, and OSE.

This is the MiniGUI core source tree, which provides windowing and graphics interfaces as well as a lot of standard controls (toolkit).

Besides MiniGUI core, FMSoft also provides some components for the developers to develop app much easier:

There are also some legacy MiniGUI components. But we will not maintain these components since MiniGUI v3.2.0:

MiniGUI is a free software project. In December 1998, the initiator of FMSoft, Wei Yongming, began to develop MiniGUI under the GNU General Public License (GPL). In September 2002, the core developers of MiniGUI founded FMSoft and started the commercial marketing with the free software. By now, FMSoft still continues to release MiniGUI as a free software project.

You can download the source code tarball of MiniGUI and the dependent libraries from the download zone of the site:

FMSoft also releases some open source apps for MiniGUI on the site above, for examples:

FMSoft had created the public repositories for MiniGUI core, MiniGUI components, and other open source apps on GitHub. You can visit them on:


We now maintain all documents about MiniGUI on the following public repo:


This instruction assumes that you are using Ubuntu Linux.


You should run apt install <package_name> to install the following packages on your Ubuntu Linux.

Building MiniGUI Core

MiniGUI core uses GNU autoconf/automake scripts to configure and build the project.


$ ./configure; make; sudo make install

to configure, make, and install the headers and the libraries. If there is not configure file, please run

$ ./

to generate the script.

MiniGUI core also provides some configuration options to customize the features. For more information, please run

$ ./configure --help

Building the Comprehensive Demo

If you are anxious to see the comprehensive demo of MiniGUI core and MiniGUI components, please fetch one of the following repositories from GitHub and follow the instructions to build the samples and the demonstration programs:


Unit Tests

Since MiniGUI 4.0.0, we organize the unit test code of MiniGUI APIs in the following repository:

If you are interested in hacking the MiniGUI code, please visit this repository.


In this version, we enhanced and tuned the APIs related to text rendering, in order to support [HybridOS Foundation Class Library].

For more information, please refer to file:

Because of the changes of some APIs, we recommended strongly that you use this version for new projects.


We introduce some new features in MiniGUI Version 3.2.x:

For more information, please refer to file:


You can configure and compile MiniGUI as one of three runtime modes:

The original MiniGUI (version 1.0) run in MiniGUI-Threads mode. It is based on POSIX-compliant thread library. And this thread-based architecture of MiniGUI is very fit for most traditional embedded operating systems, such as eCos, uC/OS-II, and VxWorks. However, if you use embedded Linux, the architecture like X Window will have better stability and scalability, because of the independent memory address space of every process.

Since version 2.0, we provides a new runtime mode called MiniGUI-Processes. You can use MiniGUI-Processes to run more than one MiniGUI-based program in the form of UNIX process at the same time. MiniGUI-Processes is a full-featured multi-process version of original MiniGUI – You can run a program based on MiniGUI-Processes from a program called mginit. Just like X Window, the former process is called a client, and the latter the server.

Clients connect to the server via UNIX domain socket, and the server receives and responses requests from clients. The server provides shared resources for clients, manage window objects, and sends mouse (or touch screen) and keyboard events to the active top-most client. If a client exits or dies for some reasons, it will not damage other clients and the server.


21 years have pasted since MiniGUI was initially created at the end of 1998, and now it becomes much reliable and stable. During the past years, many remarkable changes have taken place in the MiniGUI project.

At the original, the version 0.2.xx was based on SVGALib and PThread (LinuxThreads). Then the version 0.3.xx had many enhanced features including Graphics Abstract Layer (GAL), Input Abstract Layer (IAL), and the support for multiple charsets and multiple fonts.

In version 1.0.00, we designed MiniGUI-Lite, which was more fit for some complex embedded systems, such as PDAs, Thin-Clients, or STBs. MiniGUI-Lite made the embedded systems more stable and efficient. The version 1.0.00 provided the native fbcon engine based on Linux frame buffer device directly as well.

In the development of version 1.1.00, we re-wrote the GAL and GDI interfaces, and provided some advanced video features, such as raster operation, transparent blitting, alpha blending, and video hardware acceleration. We also provided some important GDI functions, such as Ellipse, Arc, Polygon, and FloodFill.

In the development of version 1.6.0, we added advanced 2D graphics functions to MiniGUI. It provides the abstract logical pen and brush objects, and can be used to render advanced graphics objects.

In the development of version 2.0.x, we developed MiniGUI-Processes.

In the development of version 3.0.x, we introduced Look & Feel Renderer, BIDI text support, Non-rectangular window, double-buffer window, and other main features.

In the development of version 4.0.x, we introduced the support for complex writing systems (scripts), such as Arabic, Thai, and Indic.

A brief history description of the development progress lay below:

  1. 1994 ~ 1996: MiniGUI DOS version.
  1. Dec, 1998: Began to write.
  1. Apr, 1999: The skeleton of MiniGUI, windowing sub-system and basic graphics device interfaces.
  1. May, 1999: Timer, menu, and the skeleton of control sub-system.
  1. Jun, 1999: Chinese input method (by Kang Xiaoning).
  1. July, 1999: GIF and JPG loading support (by LI Zhuo).
  1. Aug, 1999: Some standard controls (Portion by Zhao Jianghua).
  1. Sep, 1999: Dialog boxes and message boxes.
  1. Sep, 1999: Snapshot of screen or window.
  1. Jan., 2000: VCOnGUI (Virtual Console on MiniGUI) version 0.2.02.
  1. Mar., 2000: Linux distribution installer based-on MiniGUI for HappyLinux 1.0.
  1. Jun., 2000: Began to develop version 1.0.xx.
  1. Sep., 2000: MiniGUI version 0.3.06 released.
  1. Oct., 2000: MiniGUI version 0.9.00 released.
  1. Nov., 2000: MiniGUI version 0.9.96 released.
  1. Jan., 2001: MiniGUI version 0.9.98 released. You can build MiniGUI-Lite from this version.
  1. Jan., 2001: MiniGUI version 1.0.00Beta1 released.
  1. Feb., 2001: MiniGUI version 1.0.00Pre1 released.
  1. Apr., 2001: MiniGUI version 1.0.00 released (2001/04/16).
  1. Sep., 2001: MiniGUI version 1.1.0Pre1 released (2001/09/12).
  1. Sep., 2001: MiniGUI version 1.0.9 released (2001/09/17), this will be the last version of source branch 1.0.x.
  1. Oct., 2001: MiniGUI version 1.1.0Pre4 released (2001/10/22). This version have new GAL and GDI interfaces.
  1. Mar., 2002: MiniGUI official version 1.1.0 released (2002/03/08). MiniGUI API Reference documentation version 0.9 released.
  1. Mar., 2002: MiniGUI API Reference documentation version 1.0 released.
  1. Apr., 2002: MiniGUI the new stable version 1.2.0 released (2002/04/11).
  1. Sep., 2002: The main developers of MiniGUI founded a new software corporation: Beijing FMSoft Technology Co., Ltd.. And the development and maintenance of MiniGUI changes from loosely-knit team to business organization.
  1. Mar., 2003: MiniGUI official version 1.2.5 released (2003/03/23).
  1. May., 2003: MiniGUI official version 1.2.6 released (2003/05/18).
  1. Sep., 2003: MiniGUI official version 1.3.1 released (2003/09/11).
  1. Jan., 2004: MiniGUI official version 1.5.1 released (2004/01/18).
  1. Feb., 2004: MiniGUI tested on eCos and uC/OS-II.
  1. Jun., 2004: MiniGUI tested on VxWorks.
  1. Jan., 2005: MiniGUI tested on ThreadX and pSOS.
  1. Feb., 2005: MiniGUI official version 1.6.1 released.
  1. Aug., 2005: MiniGUI beta version 2.0.0 released.
  1. Sep., 2005: MiniGUI official version 1.6.8 released.
  1. Oct., 2005: MiniGUI official version 2.0.2 released.
  1. Jun., 2006: MiniGUI provides support for OSE.
  1. Jul., 2006: MiniGUI official version 2.0.3/1.6.9 released.
  1. Nov., 2007: MiniGUI official version 2.0.4/1.6.10 released.
  1. Apr., 2009: MiniGUI official version 3.0.2 released.
  1. Oct., 2009: MiniGUI official version 3.0.4 released.
  1. Jan., 2010: MiniGUI official version 3.0.6 released.
  1. May., 2010: MiniGUI official version 3.0.8 released.
  1. Aug., 2010: MiniGUI official version 3.0.10 released.
  1. Oct., 2010: MiniGUI official version 3.0.12 released.
  1. Aug., 2017: FMSoft released the latest source code of MiniGUI under GPL 3.0.
  1. Aug., 2017: FMSoft released the latest source code of mDolphin under Apache 2.0.
  1. Dec., 2017: FMSoft updated MiniGUI and miniStudio for latest Linux distributions.
  1. Feb., 2018: FMSoft released MiniGUI version 3.2.0.
  1. Apr., 2019: FMSoft released MiniGUI version 3.2.2.
  1. Jul., 2019: FMSoft released MiniGUI version 4.0.0.


The original author of MiniGUI is WEI Yongming, and now MiniGUI is maintained by FMSoft. For more information, please refer to

Copyright (C) 2002 ~ 2019, Beijing FMSoft Technologies Co., Ltd. Copyright (C) 1998 ~ 2002, WEI Yongming

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see


As this program is a library, any link to this program must follow GNU General Public License version 3 (GPLv3). If you cannot accept GPLv3, you need to be licensed from FMSoft.

If you have got a commercial license of this program, please use it under the terms and conditions of the commercial license.

For more information about the commercial license, please refer to

Special Statement

The above open source or free software license does not apply to any entity in the Exception List published by Beijing FMSoft Technologies Co., Ltd.

If you are or the entity you represent is listed in the Exception List, the above open source or free software license does not apply to you or the entity you represent. Regardless of the purpose, you should not use the software in any way whatsoever, including but not limited to downloading, viewing, copying, distributing, compiling, and running. If you have already downloaded it, you MUST destroy all of its copies.

The Exception List is published by FMSoft and may be updated from time to time. For more information, please see

Not Free for Commercial Use

As stated above, MiniGUI and its components are licensed under GPL. So any links about MiniGUI must follow GPL. If you cannot accept GPL, you need to be licensed from FMSoft.

We provide you the commercial license of MiniGUI according to the number of the run-time binary copies of MiniGUI. If you are interested in the commercial license of MiniGUI, please write to


Q: Which operating systems does MiniGUI support? A: MiniGUI can run on Linux/uClinux, uC/OS-II, eCos, ThreadX, pSOS, VxWorks, ThreadX, OSE, and even Win32. Any other real-time OSes can be supported theoretically.

Q: Which architecture does MiniGUI support? A: x86 32/64-bit, ARM 32/64-bit (e.g., ARMv7 and ARM Cortex-A7), PowerPC, MIPS, DragonBall, ColdFire, Blackfin, and so on.

Q: Does MiniGUI offer the support for grey LCD with 4bpp (bits per pixel)? A: Yes, it offers. It even offers the support for 1bpp and 2bpp LCD.

Q: Can I get the tech support from MiniGUI team? A: Yes, FMSoft can provide you with guaranteed commercial technical support services. Please send messages to