2012-02-03: Version 1.12 fixes a couple of minor infelicities in the interface (in particular, the robot options in the new game dialog are now saved between sessions). The Linux binaries now include a version for 64-bit x86 architecture. The code should now be 64-bit clean.
2011-08-29: Version 1.11 fixes a couple of minor bugs, and a long-standing minor missing feature. The latter is that it is now possible to convert a pung to a kong immediately after you claim it, if you accidentally said "Pung!" instead of "Kong!". Note that xmj now needs version 2.14 or later of GTK+2. If this is a problem for somebody, let me know.
2009-07-10: Version 1.10 converts xmj to use the current GTK+2 toolkit instead of the very old and unsupported GTK+1 toolkit. It also adds a few new features (mostly at the UI level), and fixes a surprising number of rather long-standing bugs. I recommend all users to upgrade. The Windows version is not as pretty as the new Linux version, but now all the features (such as accelerator keys) work in Windows as well as in Linux. (Note that a GTK1 version is still available for Windows, in case you want to run it on an old Windows system where GTK+2 doesn't work.) See the CHANGES for a summary of changes.
This is the end of the line for xmj version 1. There will be no further releases except bug fixes. It's possible that a much improved version 2 will appear one day, but this could be anywhere from a year to a decade away, or never!
Playing mah-jong online against other people is only possible at a few
sites (assuming you can't get three friends together to use my
programs!). There are of course many online game sites devoted to
western card games, poker being the most common, and some of them
could be encouraged to add mah-jong. Naturally, poker is in origin a
gambling game, like mah-jong, but in most jurisdictions online
gambling is heavily restricted or just plain banned. Fortunately,
there are many sites where one can play online for fun, and have all
the enjoyment with none of the risk. This section lists a few sites
who have asked me to review them. All the links are paid links, but
they have information either about software for playing games, or about rules
One such site is pokeranch (in English) and its German versions. They have reviews of internet poker software, such as the popular Everest poker (in German). They also offer a Titan poker bonus (also in German) available at some actual casinos using the also popular Titan software. A page of articles about poker is being developed.
The best book for use with this program is A. D. Millington's Complete Book of Mah-Jong; this is now considered the standard reference for the classical Chinese game, and my program uses Millington's rules. It's now out of print, but second-hand copies are available from Amazon UK.
A recent UK-based site which contains a short (but accurate) summary of several aspects of mah-jong is at www.mahjongsets.co.uk. I'm not sure what the plans for the site are, but it looks worth keeping an eye on.
For version 1.11, your GTK+2 must be at least 2.14.
For version 1.10 (Linux), you need GTK+2, preferably in a fairly modern version. This should be installed on any Linux distribution less than about eight years old. For the Windows GTK2 build, the required libraries are included in the zip file; but you need Windows 2000 or later. If you are running an older version of Windows, you should probably use the GTK1 build, in which case you will need to install the gtkdlls1.zip file as well.
To build the programs from source, you also need Perl, and preferably GNU make. On Windows you will need various Microsoft files which are part of the Platform SDK (which is fortunately available free of charge from their Web site); and though it is theoretically possible to build in an MS development environment, for all practical purposes you will need MinGW.
To decide whether you want to upgrade, read the brief notes of the differences between successive releases in the CHANGES file.
The mj-linux-x86_64 binary distribution was compiled under a Linux 2.6 kernel, GNU utilities and libraries, GNU glibc-2.12 (libc-6), Xorg-7.4, GTK+ 2.6.
The normal Linux binaries are in the Linux directory.
For Debian users: xmj is part of Debian, as a package called mah-jong.
For Fedora: it's in the package mj.
For FreeBSD, it's games/mahjong.
The binaries are in the Windows directory.
For the -gtk2 distribution, the necessary DLLs are included in the zip file (which is why it's so large).
For the -gtk1 distribution, you need (if you have not downloaded them before) the libraries in the gtkdlls1.zip (1.8MB) file which you will also find in the Windows directory. The contents of this file should be unpacked into the folder of the mj program.
You can make a donation via PayPal. The amount is up to you; if you want a suggested figure, how about fifteen euros/dollars?