Downloading and installing GNU Backgammon on MS-Windows

Downloading and installing GNU Backgammon on a computer with Microsoft Windows is fearly easy. This article will show you how to do this.

Update July 2006: This atricle of this install is a bit outdated. You should rather use Max Maini install files, found here.


First you should download the installation archive.

Click here to start downloading (7.2 MB)

Save the file somewhere on your hard disk or open the file directly if your browser allows that. If you want to make sure the transfer was correct and that nobody has tricked you with anything, you can check the md5 checksum of the file. It should be ff6105618d914db4bfc8e717ca820468. In addition you can check the detached signature against my, Řystein Johansen <>, PGP public key.

This installation archive contains a binary build of GNU Backgammon based on the cvs sources from Wednesday March 2nd 2005. This archive has also updated libraries compared to any other installation archive. You should get this!

For Python users: This build is linked to Python 2.3.


You simply open the installation archive you downloaded. If everything goes right you will the welcome screen shown in the figure below.

image of installation welcome screen

Enjoy the image on the left side, and press the button labeled "Next" to continue your installation. The next screen you will see is this:

image of installation screen License agreement.

This is the license agreement for GNU Backgammon. The program is developed under the GNU General Public License, and is something really good for the end user. First of all it's free to use. The usage is totally unlimited in time. You also have the right to distribute copies of the program. If you're a programmer you're also allowed to make changes to the program and the source code is available. (The source code is not included in the installation package though.) You're even allowed to redistribute the program if you make some modifications to it, however if you do, you have to include the source code of your modifications. If you want to learn more about the GNU Project, the General Public License and Free Software Foundation, you should visit the Free Software Foundation web site.

As you may understand, the GNU General Public License is something good for computer users, so you should accept the agreement by clicking the radio button labeled "I accept the agreement" and then press "Next >".

You should now see the installation window like this:

image of installation screen. Destination directory .

In this dialog you can control which directory or hard disk your GNU Backgammon will be installed. The default will usually be c:\Program Files\gnubg. You can of course select another destination directory if you want.

When you have selected your destination directory, or if you're satisfied with the default destination directory, you can click on the button labeled "Next >".

The next page in the installer will look something like this:

image of installation screen. Start Menu Folder.

In this page you can select the name of the Start Menu Folder that the installation will create for you. The default name is GNU Backgammon for Windows. You can of course change this if you want. Click "Next >".

image of installation screen. Select additional Tasks.

In the next page you will be asked if you want any additional icons that can click start GNU Backgammon. If you want an icon on your Desktop, you select a checkmark in the option labeled Create desktop icon. If you want a Quick Launch icon in the task bar, you select a checkmark in the option labeled Create Quick Launch icon. Then click "Next >".

image of installation screen. Ready to install.

The next page is a last check before the installation starts. Click "Install" and the files in the archive will be installed on your computer. You will see a progress bar running on the install page while the files in the archive is extracted to your computer. The extracting is completed, you will see this page appearing:

image of installation screen. Bearoff databases.

GNU Backgammon uses bearoff databases to evaluate bearoff positions (endgame positions). There are two such databases. There is a one-sided database for positions with bearoff probabilities for all 15 checkers left. Then there is also a two-sided bearoff database, which handles position with 6 or less checkers left, but considering both sides. If you are a real student of backgammon you would like these databases. However, these databases are not included in the installation archive. In this page of the installation program, you can select whenever you want to download these databases now, or if you want the installation program to generate the databases at your computer now.

If you want to download the database files, you can check the Download from Internet now option. If you then click "Next >" the installation program will download the databases from the net. The download size is about 6.6 MB. This method of obtaining the bearoff databases is recommended if you have a good internet connection. It is not recommended if you're connected to the internet through a dial up modem or an ISDN connection. It's of course not possible to download the databases if your computer is not connected to internet.

Note: The download uses normal FTP for downloading, and if the FTP server ask you about a username and a password, which may happen if your system isn't properly configured, you can use 'anonymous' as you username, and your email address as password.

If you have a modern computer you ca also make the installation program build the databases now. Since building the databases is a rather complicated calculation, the building process can take some time. On a 2 GHz machine it will typically take about 3-4 minutes. Select the Generate the databases now option and click "Next >" if you want to generate the databases.

If you select Skip the installation of the bearoff databases the installation will continue with out the installation of these databases. You will still be able to enjoy GNU Backgammon, and it will still evaluate bearoff position. However, GNU Backgammon will generate a heuristic bearoff database at every startup.

Note: The installation program checks to see if it can find the bearoff databases before it proceeds. If you do not get the dialog above, the installation program has probably already found the bearoff databases.

image of installation screen. Bearoff databases.

When the databases are completely downloaded or completely generated you will see the finishing page of the installation.

image of installation screen. Finish.

Click "Finish" to complete the installation of GNU Backgammon for Windows.
posted at 00:39:51 on 10/08/04 by oystein - Category: General