Forking SBCL for Dummies

http://repo.or.cz/ hosts a git repository for SBCL and makes it easy to publish your own fork of SBCL.

Here is a quick step-by-step guide for anyone planning to have his repository hosted there. (All of this will be painfully obvious to the git experts.)

  • Register a user account. All you need is an SSH public key, no questions asked.
  • Create the fork. Find the SBCL project and go to "fork". Enter a project name for the fork and an admin password.

Done. Now you have a fork, but you need to initialize it first.

  • Go to your "Project Settings" page and add yourself as a user.

Otherwise you cannot push to your own project.

  • Push into the fork. One way to do this is to clone the normal SBCL repository, then use
    git push --all ssh://yourusername@repo.or.cz/srv/git/sbcl/yourprojectname.git

Don't forget the --all, which instructs git to push all refs. Whatever a ref is, anyway.



It is unfinished, slow, buggy, unmaintained, in need of a rewrite -- and now you can hack it yourself!

Doesn't that sound exciting?  Of course it does.

Prerequisites. Only Linux/x86 is supported1. You will need several hours of spare CPU time, about 1 GB of RAM, and lots of disk space. Compilation involves building SBCL and classpath first, so make sure to install all required dependencies first. Debian users can run

# apt-get install sbcl svn cvs wget jikes
# apt-get build-dep classpath
to do so.

Build script. Grab cloak using git [edit: needs git 1.5, no idea why]:

$ git clone http://www.lichteblau.com/git/cloakbuild.git
and compile it using clbuild-like commands:
$ ./build update
$ ./build world

Usage. The bin directory contains scripts called java, javac (courtesy of ecj), javap, and javah that run Lisp with the right arguments.

$ ./bin/java -version
CLOAK Virtual Machine, running on SBCL (Linux 2.6.22 X86)

Copyright (C) 2003-2007 David Lichteblau

Technically it is a precompiler, and to avoid unpleasant surprises at run time, you might want to run

./bin/precompile foo.jar
before starting anything non-trivial.

Finally, read cloak/TODO and start hacking.

What's new? Compared to the big binary tarball available previously, this one comes with sources only, has been updated for current SBCL, and for Classpath 0.91 (which is still ancient, but a little step forward). The scripts in bin/ are also new.

1 No AMD 64 support yet. For now, use an x86 chroot instead.


A new data structure for XML

As mentioned earlier, I set out to define an alternative to the W3C's Document Object Model, inspired heavily by Java's XOM, but made for Common Lisp.

The result is STP, a data structure for XML that is full-featured and uses CLOS, but is more natural than DOM and gets namespaces right. Its implementation cxml-stp is available as an add-on library for Closure XML.

(For most purposes, it should be preferable to other alternatives, but DOM fans -- in case there are any -- can be assured that DOM support in cxml will not go away either.)

Read more about STP in the tutorial.