Installing GLOSS under MS-Windows

(Please note: I am no expert in windows, and your flavour of windows might be different from the test platform I used. I'd appreciate any feedback on how this installation processes went for you.)

1 Using the MSI installer

The easiest way to install gloss in windows is to use the MSI installer file at

Before you start, it might be a good idea to check you have a resonably recent java on your machine. GLOSS needs at least the standard Java 1.5 runtime. If your machine is not too old and you keep it reasonably up-to-date this will not be a problem, but if in doubt this is how you check.

To verify your version go to Control Panel, click the "java" icon, and then choose "General", and click "About...". If you have an earlier version, choose the "Update" tab and click "Update Now".

It may also be a good idea to check the system can find the java executable. To do this open a command prompt window. (Usually from "start" -> "All Programs" -> "accessories") and type "java -version" and enter. I got

Java(TM) 2 Runtime Environment, Standard Edition (build 1.5.0_08-b03)
Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (build 1.5.0_08-b03, mixed mode, sharing)

indicating that all is well and I am running version 1.5.

Now download the MSI file from the download site. There will be a file called gloss-latest.msi which is the one to go for. There may also be a file called gloss-stable.msi which should avoid any recent experimental code that has been inserted into the latest version if you are feeling paranoid. Download this and run it. There are no difficult questions, just acceptance of the GNU public licence (GPL).

Although it might not be necessary, and the installer might not require it, I have found it is useful to restart your computer at this stage.

After a restart, you should have GLOSS installed. From windows explorer, a file with extension ".gloss" should show the GLOSS icon, and right clicking it should give you the option of "gloss this file". In a similar way, there should be right-click options to validate or convert .xhtml files.

2 Generic installation from a zip file

An alternative is to install from the zip file following the generic installation described elsewhere. Here you will download "" or "".

My web-browser saved it to a zip file on the desktop. Now open it now by double clicking it. You should see inside it a single folder called "gloss-X.X". Make a "C:\Program Files\gloss" folder and copy the folder "gloss-X.X" to this folder. (E.g., open your main disc drive using explorer and go to "\Program Files", if necessary clicking the link to allow you to see these files. Make a folder called "gloss" there. Then drag the "gloss-X.X" folder that is inside to the "C:\Program Files\gloss" that you just created. It should say "Copying..." and the operation will take a minute or two.)

You will also need to set up the environment variable "GLOSS". The quickest way to do this is to right click your "My Computer" icon and select properties. Then click the "Advanced" tab and the "Environment Variables" button on this. Give the variable "GLOSS" the value "C:\Program Files\gloss\gloss-X.X\" (or whatever) including the final backslash. The MSI installer does some clever things associating gloss files with the icon "C:\Program Files\gloss\gloss-X.X\gloss.ico" and actions in the "C:\Program Files\gloss\gloss-X.X\bin" folder. You can set this up manually if you know how.

3 Other set-up

By following the instructions in either of the two previous sections you should have a working GLOSS system. If you like using a command-line prompt you can now set your PATH to include "C:\Program Files\gloss\gloss-X.X\bin", or you might just prefer to set-up your favourite editor to execute these bat files from that location directly.

You may also like to install a few other tools. These include a browser capable of displaying MathML, such as Firefox with the MathML fonts or Internet Explorer with the MathPlayer plugin. You may also want MiKTeX (if you haven't already got it) to convert your XHTML to TeX, and thence to DVI and PDF.

The most important thing you will need is a good editor. I recommend jEdit, since jEdit has useful plugins for xslt and ant (meaning that separate installations for these may not be necessary) and because we are developing a GLOSS plugin for jEdit to make your work even easier. Other editors are possible. PFE (from is fast and free and although older still works well on all versions of Windows I have tried, and has configurable menus. WinEdt ( is more powerful and more fashionable, but is not free. If you have it it will work well. There are plenty of others available.

4 Getting started

The gloss documentation is all available in the installation at "C:\Program Files\gloss\gloss-X.X\doc". You will also find many many example input files in "C:\Program Files\gloss\gloss-X.X\docsrc". The main commands are normally run from batch files in "C:\Program Files\gloss\gloss-X.X\bat". Have fun!

This page is copyright. Web page design and creation by GLOSS.