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gambit-c - Scheme programming system…  more info»


                      README file for Gambit-C

Quick-install instructions for a typical installation

  git clone
  cd gambit
  ./configure --enable-single-host
  make bootstrap
  make bootclean
  make check
  sudo make install

Detailed installation instructions are given in the file "INSTALL.txt".

General information

Gambit-C includes a Scheme interpreter and a Scheme compiler which can
be used to build standalone executables.  Because the compiler
generates portable C code it is fairly easy to port to any platform
with a decent C compiler.

The Gambit-C system conforms to the R4RS, R5RS and IEEE Scheme standards.
The full numeric tower is implemented, including: infinite precision
integers (bignums), rationals, inexact reals (floating point numbers),
and complex numbers.  Gambit-C supports a number of extensions to the
standards including:

 - an optimizing compiler
   - with several powerful transformations (automatic function inlining,
     speculative inlining of primitives, partial evaluation, etc)
   - that generates properly tail-recursive portable C code
 - a scalable thread system that can handle millions of concurrent threads
 - an I/O system fully integrated with the thread system that supports
   - regular files
   - ttys (terminals and serial ports)
   - sockets (client and server, with TCP or UDP)
   - directories
   - processes
   - pipes
 - an infix syntax extension (SIX) that allows mixing code in the
   standard prefix syntax with code in a C-like syntax
 - the following SRFIs:
    - SRFI 0 (Feature-based conditional expansion construct)
    - SRFI 4 (Homogeneous numeric vector datatypes)
    - SRFI 6 (Basic String Ports)
    - SRFI 8 (RECEIVE: Binding to multiple values)
    - SRFI 9 (Defining Record Types)
    - SRFI 18 (Multithreading support)
    - SRFI 21 (Real-time multithreading support)
    - SRFI 22 (Running Scheme Scripts on Unix)
    - SRFI 23 (Error reporting mechanism)
    - SRFI 27 (Sources of Random Bits)
    - SRFI 39 (Parameter objects)
 - a REPL/debugger with
    - a continuation inspection facility (i.e. "backtrace")
    - a single-stepping mode
    - error messages with location of error (file, line, and column number)
    - emacs compatible line-editing with history
 - very efficient bignum implementation
 - a foreign function interface for C
 - a memory management system that grows and shrinks the heap based on
   the program's needs
 - a linker that builds standalone executables and shared libraries
 - dynamic loading of compiled modules and libraries (supported on many
 - Unicode support for characters, strings, I/O and source code
 - object finalization
 - pretty printing
 - keyword objects
 - optional and keyword parameters (with the syntax and semantics of DSSSL)
 - configurable reader with control over case sensitivity
 - write/read invariance of symbols, e.g. (string->symbol "B;123") => |B;123|
 - write/read invariance of floating point numbers
 - unhygienic macros
 - and many other things!

The user manual for the Gambit-C system is available in PDF format
(the file "doc/gambit-c.pdf"), in HTML format (the file
"doc/gambit-c.html"), in text format (the file "doc/gambit-c.txt") and
in "info" format (the files "doc/*").

The Gambit mailing list ( is a good
place to ask questions about Gambit.

The latest official release of the system and other helpful documents
related to Gambit can be obtained from the Gambit wiki at:
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