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Last active Sep 29, 2017
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Installing SASS/Compass on Windows via Cygwin

Install Cygwin & Ruby

Follow the instructions at You will run an executable called setup.exe which will guide you through the installation. You will eventually arrive at a screen where you can select the packages you want to install. Be sure to install Ruby (its under Interpreters/ruby).

Once Cygwin has finished installing packages, it will offer to create icons for you. You can click on these icons to start up a terminal session, so select what ever is convenient for you.

Once installation is complete, start a terminal session.

Confirm that ruby is installed by typing this at the prompt:

ruby -v

You should see something like this come back:

ruby 1.8.7 (2008-08-11 patchlevel 72) [i386-cygwin]

Install RubyGems

A lot of Ruby software, including SASS and Compass, are distributed using the package manager "RubyGems". You need to install RubyGems. The instructions at have worked for me.

Once you have followed those instructions, confirm that RubyGems is installed by typing this at the prompt.

gem -v

You should see something like this come back:


(I also get a cygwin warning, complaining that an MS-DOS style path has been detected - I have ignored this up to now with no apparent ill effects).

Install SASS/Compass

To install just SASS:

gem install sass

To install SASS and Compass:

gem install compass

Having reached this point, it should be plain sailing. You can follow the SASS Tutorial at and/or the Compass Installation guide at

One last gotcha

We're almost there now. There's one last gotcha, which causes the compass watcher to crash when you change a file. For a fix, see this comment on StackOverflow:

Cygwin Style Paths

Note: it's worth being aware of Cygwin style paths, and how they differ from Windows style paths. Basically, a Windows path like this:


... maps to a Cygwin path like this:


There's more info at

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today, I try to install the compass gem, but mkmf.log says

package configuration for libffi is not found
"gcc -o conftest.exe -I/usr/include/ruby-2.2.0 -I/usr/include/ruby-2.2.0/ruby/backward -I/usr/include/ruby-2.2.0 -I. -ggdb -O2 -pipe -Wimplicit-function-declaration conftest.c -L. -L/usr/lib -L. -fstack-protector -lruby220 -lpthread -lgmp -ldl -lcrypt "
/usr/lib/gcc/x86_64-pc-cygwin/4.9.3/../../../../x86_64-pc-cygwin/bin/ld: no se puede encontrar -lgmp
/usr/lib/gcc/x86_64-pc-cygwin/4.9.3/../../../../x86_64-pc-cygwin/bin/ld: no se puede encontrar -lcrypt
collect2: error: ld devolvió el estado de salida 1
checked program was:
/* begin _/
1: #include "ruby.h"
3: int main(int argc, char *_argv)
4: {
5: return 0;
6: }
/* end */

I have cygwin 64bit

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I experienced the same problem as oscar. package config for libffi is not found, can't find -lgmp. I have found libffi and tried installing libffi-dev in cygwin to no change

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passani commented Jan 11, 2017

Not so smooth here:

$ ruby -v
ruby 2.2.4p230 (2015-12-16 revision 53155) [x86_64-cygwin]

$ gem install sass
Fetching: sass-3.4.23.gem (100%)
Successfully installed sass-3.4.23
Parsing documentation for sass-3.4.23
Installing ri documentation for sass-3.4.23
Done installing documentation for sass after 19 seconds
1 gem installed

$ sass
-bash: sass: command not found

where does sass get installed?

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rsau commented Sep 29, 2017

You probably found the solution.
This is for anyone who lands here from search engine.

check ~/.gem/ruby/2.3.0/gems/sass-3.5.1/bin

Change version numbers reflecting your installation.

or for any other gem

gem which gem_name

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