oaklisp(1) An implementation of the Oaklisp language


oaklisp [ emulator-options ... [ -- oaklisp-options ... ]]


Oaklisp is an object-oriented dialect of Scheme. This implementation is quite portable, compiling to a virtual machine which is emulated by a C program. Nevertheless, reasonable speed is achieved through a variety of sophisticated techniques.


Options are all long, and it makes no difference if you start them with one or two dashes (`-'). All options can be abbreviated to a unique prefix. There are two sorts of options: for the bytecode emulator, and for the Oaklisp world. You must use a -- to separate them.


Show summary of emulator options and exit
Print version of emulator and exit
--world file
file is world to load
--dump file
dump world to file upon exit
--d file
synonym for --dump
--dump-base b
0=ascii, 2=binary; default=2
--predump-gc b
0=no, 1=yes; default=1
--size-heap n
n is in kilo-refs, default 128
--size-val-stk n
value stack buffer, n is in refs
--size-cxt-stk n
context stack buffer, n is in refs
--size-seg-max n
maximum flushed segment len, n is in refs
--trace-gc v
0=quiet, 3=very detailed; default=0
--verbose-gc v
synonym for --trace-gc
trace filesystem operations


trace stack segment writes/reads
print entire value stack at each instr
print entire context stack at each instr
print the size of the stacks at each instr
trace each bytecode executed
trace each method lookup
trace method cache


Show summary of Oaklisp options

--eval expr
Evaluate Oaklisp expression, which is one arg so be sure to quote for shell.

--load file
Load a file.

--compile file
Compile file.oak yielding file.oa

--locale x
Switch to locale x, eg system-locale (default), compiler-locale, scheme-locale (for RnRS compatibility).

Exit upon processing this option.


This will compile the file myfile.oak in the scheme locale and then leave the user in a read-eval-print loop in the scheme locale.

oaklisp -- --locale scheme-locale --compile myfile


The environment variable OAKWORLD will override the default compiled into the executable, but itself can be overridden on the command line.


/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/oaklisp/oakworld.bin holds the world image. It is portable between machines of the same endianity. The location can vary depending upon installation-time decisions.


Floating point numbers are not implemented. Rationals can be used to make up for this lack because rationals can be told to print in floating point format and floating point format input can be made to read as rational numbers. (There are a couple floating point implementations, but they are not merged into the distributed release.)

In contrast to the error handling system, which is Industrial Strength, the debugger is virtually nonexistent.

There is no foreign function interface for loading and calling C routines from a running Oaklisp. (Again, there are a couple implementations of foreign function interfaces which are not merged in.)

The memory format does not support uninterpreted "blobs".

Porting the system to 64-bit machines has not been done, and would be quite difficult.

POSIX threads in the emulator never got quite finished.

Bug reports and enhancements can be filed on the github issue tracker <URL: https://github.com/barak/oaklisp >.


The programs are documented more fully in the language and implementation manuals lang.pdf and lim.pdf, along with OaklispSummary.pdf, whose source is included with the distribution, and installed in /usr/share/doc/oaklisp/.

The Oaklisp home page is transitioning from its old location <URL: http://www.bcl.hamilton.ie/~barak/oaklisp/ > to alioth <URL: https://oaklisp.alioth.debian.org/ > and github <URL: https://github.com/barak/oaklisp >.

The Implementation of Oaklisp is a chapter in Topics in Advanced Language Implementation edited by Peter Lee, pp 189-215, MIT Press, 1991.

Oaklisp: an Object-Oriented Dialect of Scheme appears in the journal Lisp and Symbolic Computation 1(1):39-51, published by Klewer Associates, May 1988.

Oaklisp: an Object-Oriented Scheme with First Class Types appeared in proceedings of the ACM conference OOPSLA-86, pp30-37, published as a special issue of SIGPLAN Notices.

Garbage collection with pointers to single cells, an article on the Oaklisp garbage collector, appeared in Communications of the ACM, 39(12):202-206 (online edition), December 1996.

The Revised^n Report on Scheme is a useful piece of documentation, and is widely available online.


The Oaklisp copyright belongs to its authors. It is distributed under the GNU General Public License, a copy of which is included in the source distribution in the file COPYING. For further information or to make alternate arrangements please contact the authors, who are surprisingly reasonable people.


Oaklisp was originally designed, implemented, and documented by Barak A. Pearlmutter and Kevin J. Lang.