Guile (Past Release Announcements)

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Release 1.2 of Guile is now available.

Guile is a portable, embeddable Scheme implementation written in C. It provides a machine independent execution platform that can be linked in as a library when building extensible programs.

Please send bug reports to

Obtaining Guile

The latest official Guile release is available via anonymous FTP from, as /pub/gnu/guile-1.2.tar.gz.

Via the web, that's:

For getit, that's:

The mailing list `' carries discussions, questions, and often answers, about Guile. To subscribe, send mail to Of course, please send bug reports (and fixes!) to


The FSF thanks the following people for generous contributions of their time and talents:

  • Tim Pierce, for the light-weight SCSH-compatible regexp interface, tracking down Solaris problems, and miscellaneous bug fixes
  • Gary Houston, for continued work on the system call support
  • Anthony Green, for help debugging problems on Solaris under Sun's compiler, and general thread expertise
  • Marius Vollmer, for tracking down bad interactions between the threading system and the interpreter, and improving the way structures print
  • Bernard URBAN, for making Hobbit work with Guile, and bug reports
  • Marcus Daniels and Russ McManus, for work on the cygwin (or gnu-win32) port.
  • Daniel Hagerty, for helping me find machines for testing.

And thanks for bug reports and fixes from Aleksandar Bakic, Thomas Bushnell, Marcus Daniels, Bill Janssen, Russell McManus, Bill Nell, Larry Schwimmer, Maciej Stachowiak, Bruce Stephens, Maurizio Vitale, and YABUKI Youichi.

Naturally, any bugs remaining in the release are the maintainer's responsibility.

Also, thanks to Pat Eyler, for his work on the Guile web pages!

About This Distribution

Building and installing this distribution gives you:

a stand-alone interpreter for Guile, usually installed in /usr/local/bin. With no arguments, this is a simple interactive Scheme interpreter. It can also be used as an interpreter for script files; see the NEWS file for details.
an object library containing the Guile interpreter, usually installed in /usr/local/lib. You can use Guile in your own programs by linking against this.
an object library containing the QuickThreads primitives. If you enabled thread support when you configured Guile, you will need to link your code against this too.
<libguile.h>, <libguile/*.h>
header files for libguile.a, usually
installed in /usr/local/include.

Interesting files include:

  • INSTALL, which contains instructions on building and installing Guile.
  • NEWS, which describes user-visible changes since the last release of Guile.
  • COPYING, which describes the terms under which you may redistribute Guile, and explains that there is no warranty.

The Guile source tree is laid out as follows:

The Guile Scheme interpreter --- both the object library for you to link with your programs, and the executable you can run.
Guile's module system, initialization code, and other infrastructure.
A cooperative threads package from Washington University, which Guile can use. If you configure Guile with the --with-threads flag, you will need to link against the -lqt library, found in this directory. Qt is under a separate copyright; see `qt/README' for more details.
(The present release doesn't include any documentation; the Guile manual is incomplete, and is currently being revised.)

Nightly Snapshots

Each night, we make the current Guile sources available via anonymous FTP. Please keep in mind that these sources are strictly experimental; they will usually not be well-tested, and may not even compile on some systems. They may contain interfaces which will change. They will usually not be of sufficient quality for use by people not comfortable hacking the innards of Guile. Caveat!

However, we're providing them anyway for several reasons. We'd like to encourage people to get involved in developing Guile. People willing to use the bleeding edge of development can get earlier access to new, experimental features. Patches submitted relative to recent snapshots will be easier for us to evaluate and install, since the patch's original sources will be closer to what we're working with. And it allows us to start testing features earlier.

Nightly snapshots of the Guile development sources are available via anonymous FTP from, as /pub/guile/guile-snap.tar.gz.

Via the web, that's:

For getit, that's:

Hacking It Yourself

As distributed, Guile needs only an ANSI C compiler and a Unix system to compile. However, Guile's makefiles, configuration scripts, and a few other files are automatically generated, not written by hand. If you want to make changes to the system (which we encourage!) you will find it helpful to have the tools we use to develop Guile. They are the following:

Autoconf 2.12 --- a system for automatically generating `configure' scripts from templates which list the non-portable features a program would like to use. Available in "".

Automake 1.1p --- a system for automatically generating Makefiles that conform to the (rather Byzantine) GNU coding standards. The nice thing is that it takes care of hairy targets like 'make dist' and 'make distclean', and automatically generates Makefile dependencies. Automake is available in "". Before using automake, you may need to copy `threads.m4' and `guile.m4' from the top directory of the Guile core disty to `/usr/local/share/aclocal.

libtool 0.9h --- a system for managing the zillion hairy options needed on various systems to produce shared libraries. Available in "".

You are lost in a little maze of automatically generated files, all different.

Authors And Contributors

Many people have generously contributed to Guile. However, any errors are the responsibility of the primary Guile maintainer, Jim Blandy.

Mikael Djurfeldt designed and implemented:

  • the source-level debugging support (although the debugger's user interface is not yet complete)
  • stack overflow detection,
  • the GDB patches to support debugging mixed Scheme/C code,
  • the original implementation of weak hash tables,
  • enhancements to the `threads' interface (based on Anthony Green's work), and
  • detection of circular references during printing.

Mark Galassi contributed the Guile high-level functions (gh_*), and wrote the guile-programmer and guile-user manuals. (These are in the process of revision.)

Anthony Green wrote the original version of `threads', the interface between Guile and qt.

Gary Houston wrote much of the Unix system call support, including the socket support, and did a lot of work on the error handling code.

Tom Lord librarified SCM, yielding Guile. He wrote Guile's operating system, Ice-9, and connected Guile to Tcl/Tk and the `rx' regular expression matcher.

Aubrey Jaffer seriously tuned performance and added features. He designed many hairy but beautiful parts of the tag system and evaluator.

George Carrette wrote SIOD, a stand-alone scheme interpreter. Although most of this code as been rewritten or replaced over time, the garbage collector from SIOD is still an important part of Guile.

2 Aug 2000 spacey

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Updated: 2 Aug 2000 spacey