Switch branches/tags
Nothing to show
Find file Copy path
Fetching contributors…
Cannot retrieve contributors at this time
571 lines (486 sloc) 25.3 KB



Copyright 1994-2010 Fraunhofer ISST, Copyright 2010 Henry G. Weller.

This file is part of Eu2C.

Eu2C is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2 as published by the Free Software Foundation.

Eu2C is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program in the file COPYING. If not, see


Eu2C was originally developed at Fraunhofer ISST in the joint research project APPLY funded by the German Ministry of Research and Technology under the project code ITW9102D5. The final release in July 1994 is publicly available from eu2c.tgz however the terms of use are not specified. This release of Eu2C is derived from the eu2c-94-07-EUPL version kindly prepared and provided by E. Ulrich Kriegel and released by Fraunhofer ISST under the EUPL version 1.1 (see README.orig). However, due to the inclusion of EuLisp code from Youtoo, which is released under the GPL version 2, this version of Eu2C inherits the GPL version 2 (see above) as specifically permitted under the compatibility terms of the EUPL version 1.1. Future versions of the EUPL may include a compatibility clause for GPL version 3 at which point it will be possible to re-release Eu2C, Youtoo and EuXLisp under the GPL version 3.


This section provides a little background about the APPLY project and the motivation and design of Eu2C. The text is predominantly obtained from “readme” and announcement files released with Eu2C by Fraunhofer ISST. These are available from the AI repository at CMU: eu2c, see also Eu2C - Lisp to C compiler.

There were two main problems for Lisp users being considered at the time:

  1. the efficiency, by which we mean both the run-time efficiency and the efficiency of storage use and
  2. the unsatisfactory integration capability of Lisp programs with other programs. Our way of solving these problems is to compile Lisp applications into C.

The main goal of APPLY project was to development a Lisp system which consistently supports the efficient execution of applications and their simple integration into current software environments. The aims of the Eu2C development were

  • efficient execution of Lisp applications comparable to that of C-programs and
  • simple integration of Lisp programs into non-Lisp environments.

As a first step Apply/E2C was realized as a total compiler compiling EuLisp-Modules into C source code which then must be compiled by an ANSI C-compiler. To implement and describe the runtime system and to achieve high performance of the C-programs generated we must have a language that can handle C-data types and C-values. For this purpose ISST developed a typed Lisp-like implementation language called TAIL. You can describe the representation of data, the type schemes and the type lattice with TAIL. Thus we have the possibility to carry out experiments with different data representations or type schemes without changing the Eu2C-compiler. TAIL can also be used as the basis for the implementation of other Lisp dialects. A type inference system has a great effect on the speed of Lisp programs. With a good type inference system you can reduce the number of dynamic type checks and replace calls of generic functions by direct calls of methods. A C-compiler has the best results for optimization of C-programs if the C-programs look like programs written by experienced programmers. The ISST called this kind of C-code “natural C-code”. The approach is, for example, to use the parameter passing mechanism of C instead of using a special Lisp stack to achieve very fast function calls.

To achieve to project goals the following implementation decisions were taken:

  • The hardware stack is used instead of an own lisp control stack.
  • Lisp data types are represented similar to C datatypes in order to avoid incompatibility with hardwara datatypes and in order to enable easy data exchange with non-Lisp programs.

Project Partners

  • GMD-FIT (St. Augustin, Germany)
  • Fraunhofer ISST (Berlin, Germany)
  • VW-GEDAS (Berlin, Germany)
  • CAU Kiel (Kiel, Germany)


These decisions require to use a conservative pointer finding strategy for gc.

The implementation comprises EuLisp-0.99 level-0.

Compilation strategies

Two compilation strategies are supported:

  • total compilation of an application including all the runtime modules
  • total compilation of an application using a precompiled runtime system, e.g. level-0.

The former produces very efficient code but the compilation is very cpu- intensive. The code produced by the second variant is a little bit less efficient since optimization across the interface between application an runtime system is not possible, but due to the precompiled runtime-system the compilation process is much faster.

Threads are supported

but use setjmp/longjmp rather than pthreads or equivalent so do not currently take advantage of multi-core CPUs.

Reports and Papers

  • Apply Papers
  • Fraunhofer Reports Reports in the series ISSN: 0943-1624 relating to APPLY/Eu2C not available from the APPLY archive ftp site above:
    1. Friedrich, Horst: „Eu2C-LISP to C Compiler“, Berlin 1994. See also
    2. Heicking, Winfried; Rosenmüller, Rainer: „Machine description“, Berlin 1992.

See Also


Requirements to install and run the EuLisp->C compiler

CMUCL Common Lisp compiler

Tested with version 20a but older should work.

Note that originally Eu2C used Franz Allegro 4.1 or 4.2 but the current 8.2 release is unable to compile Eu2C apparently due to some serious bugs in in Allegro-8.2.

Note also than currently Eu2C cannot be compiled with SBCL due to a bug/limitation in the way it supports class aliasing, see bug-report. Once this issue is resolved SBCL support will be finalised.

No attempt has been made to support CLisp as the Common Lisp compiler for Eu2C but the indications are that this should be possible with a modest amount of work.

GNU c compiler gcc

Tested with version gcc-4.4.3 but older and newer should work.

Installation Procedure

  • Pull the latest version from the GitHub repository:
    • git clone git://
  • “cd” into the EuLisp directory
  • Configure for the default architecture
    • ./configure
    • Check the settings and edit the configure file to reflect your system if necessary and re-run
    • ./configure.
  • To configure for a specified architecture,
    • ./configure <arch>
    • e.g. to configure for a 32bit build on a x86_64 64bit machine:
    • ./configure i686
  • cd into the EuLisp/Eu2C directory.
  • For complete installation, run the command make without any arguments, which takes depending on your hardware a few minutes. The following will happen:
    • CMUCL starts and the source files of the eu2c-compiler will be compiled.
    • CMUCL starts again, reads the compiled compiler sources and creates a new image containing the EuLisp->C-compiler. If you have defined an environment variable Eu2CIMAGENAME, the value of that variable will be used as the new name of the CMUCL image with the eu2c compiler loaded, otherwise the name will be Lib/eu2c.cmu.
    • The libraries with different incarnations of Mem4C, an application independent conservative garbage collector will be created.
    • The eu2c-compiler is started first time to compile the basic module which is in the default case the module level-0.
    • The eu2c-compiler is started again to be enhanced with the precompiled level-0 module. A new CMUCL image is created. Its name is composed of the name of the eu2c-compiler and the name of the basic module. Therefore, he default name will be Lib/eu2c.level-0.cmu.

Compilation of EuLisp-Modules

There are 2 different strategies for the compilation of EuLisp modules:

  • total compilation of an application including all the runtime modules
  • total compilation of an application using a precompiled runtime system, e.g. level-0.

The former produces very efficient code but the compilation is very cpu- intensive. The code produced by the second variant is a little bit less efficient since optimization across the interface between application an runtime system is not possible, but due to the precompiled runtime-system the compilation process is much faster.

A general compiler-driver Bin/eu2c is provided which controls the compilation process. In order to compile an EuLisp Module into C and then create an application simply call:

  • =Bin/eu2c [switches] <path expression> [C-compiler switches and additional

C files]= e.g. in the Examples sub-directory

  • ../Bin/eu2c -bs level-0 hello

The compilation of the EuLisp-module hello.em with precompiled runtime system is started. The following files will be created:

  • hello.c : the C code
  • hello.inst : description of instances, will be included from hello.c
  • hello : image

The following switches are of special interest:

  • -C : compiles and links the C code of the EuLisp-module (a somewhat specialized driver for ANSI-C compiler and Linker)
  • -L : compiles the given EuLisp-module to C and stops (runs the Eu2C compiler only).
  • Omitting both -L and -C will call the Eu2C compiler first nad then the ANSI-C compiler and linker to produce an application.
  • -g : sets the debug-Option for the C-compiler and suppress all C-level optimizations
  • -bs <name> : use the precompiled runtime-system with name <name> for compilation The default is without precompiled runtime system, i.e. all run-time system modules needed system is compiled together with the application. As a tradeoff between compilation time and run-time we strongly recommend to use a precompiled run-time system for compilation. There is a module level-0 containing everything defined in level-0 of EuLisp-0.99. In addition we provide a module eulis0x which exposes level-0 and contains the following enhancements: command-line-interface and the base of an interface to C.
  • -security : Links with a gc-library which is compiled with special security features. In the default case a gc-library with security features off is used.
  • -threads : The precompiled run-time system eulisp-level-0 supports threads. However, threads require special care during memory management activities like allocation of space. For the sake of efficiency we decided to assume as a default case that there are single threaded applications only. If one insist to use threads then one has to use the -threads switch which ensures that the correct gc-library will be linked to your application. (Using that library with single threaded applications would reduce the application efficiency by about 10%).
  • -cards <start number of cards> : Eu2C relies on a conservative memory management system Mem4C[++], which allocates memory portions on cards of size 4096 bytes. The switch -cards determines the initial number of cards allocated during system initialization. As a default we use a value of 16. That means one starts with a heap size of 64 kBytes which will be increased on demand in correspondence with the configuration of the Mem4C[++]-library.


In the sub-directory Examples some example EuLisp programs are given, some of them require to be compiled with the module level-0 and some must be compiled with the level-0x-module.

A basic system with precompiled level-0x can be generated by calling make with:

  • make basic_module=level-0x

and used thus:

  • cd Examples
  • ../Bin/eu2c -bs level-0x command-line


For the easy installation we provide a script for make. The following macros are used:

  • basic_image: The name of the CMUCL image containing the eu2c compiler. If the environment variable $Eu2CIMAGENAME is defined, its value will be used, otherwise the name is assumed to be eu2c.cmu.
  • basic_module: The name of the EuLisp-module which contain the basic run-time system. The default value is level-0. Another possible basic module is level-0x.

The following targets for make are defined:

  • basic_system: compiles the basic run-time-system and creates a new CMUCL-image with basic run-time system loaded.
  • compile_basic_system: compiles a basic-run-time system.
  • load_basic_system: loads a pre-compiled run-time system and builds a new CMUCL-image with that system pre-compiled.
  • <basic_image>: compiles all compiler sources, loads them and creates an CMUCL- image with name <basic_image> which contains the pure eu2c compiler without any precompiled run-time resources.
  • libs: creates the libraries for the memory management system.
  • clean_basic_system: removes the pre-compiled run-time system and CMUCL-image containing precompiled run-time system (approximately 16MB)
  • clean_compiler_sources: deletes all source files of the eu2c compiler.
  • clean_run-time_sources: deletes the eulisp source files of the run-time system.
  • clean_eu2c_image: deletes the CMUCL-image containing the eu2c-compiler.
  • clean_libs: deletes the libraries for the memory management system.
  • clean_c_sources: deletes all c source files of the memory management


  • remove_sources: removes all sources. Should only be used if you have

created an CMUCL-image with a precompiled run-time system.

If you plan to use Eu2C with the precompiled basic system we recommend to run make with the targets clean_runtime_sources and clean_eu2c_image.

Building 32bit on a 64bit machine:

It is possible to compile 32bit on 64bit machines using the ARCH=i686 option to build the run-time and the -arch i686 option when building the applications, e.g.

  • make clean
  • make ARCH=i686
  • cd Examples
  • ../Bin/eu2c -arch i686 -bs level-0 gtakl2
  • ./gtakl2

Current Limitations

Not yet implemented:

  • generic-lambda.
  • scan: the function read can be used instead.

Not yet complete:

  • format: the directives ~e, ~f and ~g are not yet present.

Known problems:

  • Symbol case: During compilation (when the modules are read in) the symbol identifiers are converted into upper case. However, at run time read distinguishes for symbols between upper and lower cases.
  • See 9.4. in EuLisp-0.99: The module itself can not be referenced in an expose directive of a module.
  • See 9.5 in EuLisp-0.99: The syntax imports of special forms and standard macros is not yet supported. Currently they are treated in a special way.
  • Numeric errors can be captured using with-handler but they are not continuable.
  • An endless recursion in which the recursive call is on the top of the function level is incorrect:
    • (defun loop () ... (loop))

    But in all other cases the right code is generated:

    (defun loop ()
      (if ... (progn ... (loop))
        (progn ... (loop))))
  • Tables can not currently be used.

Common Lisp Compiler Extensions

It is necessary to extend the capabilities of the CL compiler to support:

  • keyword symbols which end in a “:”, this is formally allowed by the CL standard as an implementation-dependent extension;
  • “e” as the exponent designator for written double-precision numbers, the CL standard specifies either “d” or “D”.

Eu2C now includes a patch file Apply/cmu.lisp which adds support for both of the above into the CMUCL-20a/b CL compiler. The equivalent would have to be created for other CL implementations e.g. SBCL or CLisp if they are to be used to compile Eu2C.

Necessary module imports

The whole functionality of level 0 of EuLisp is contained in the module level-0. Therefore the module level-0 should be imported as in the following example.

(defmodule test-module
  (import (level-0 user-module)
   syntax (level-0 user-module-with-macro-definition)
   export (fct1 fct2 ...)
   expose (...))

Compiler log

../Bin/eu2c -bs level-0 hello generates (comments are enclosed in <<…>>):

Eu2C: (compile-application hello)
      using compiler image /home/dm2/henry/EuLisp/Eu2C/Eu2C/Lib/eu2c.level-0

<<After the creation of the '.c' and '.inst' files the compilation and linking
  of the C-sources with the help of the GNU-C-Compilers is made:>>

Eu2C: successful conversion of hello.em to hello.c

+ gcc -m64 -c -o hello.o -O2 -I /home/dm2/henry/EuLisp/Eu2C/Eu2C/Runtime hello.c
+ gcc -m64 -z muldefs -o hello -O2 -I /home/dm2/henry/EuLisp/Eu2C/Eu2C/Runtime hello.o /home/dm2/henry/EuLisp/Eu2C/Eu2C/Runtime/level-0.a /home/dm2/henry/EuLisp/Eu2C/Eu2C/Runtime/platforms/x86_64m64/eu2c.a -lm
+ set +x

<<In this phase warnings may appear both from the compiler and the linker. In
  most cases these warnings have no effects on the run of the generated


<<Now you can call the program with:>>


and the log file hello.log:

--- loading application modules
;loading module hello.em
;apply module HELLO loaded

<<all user modules are loaded>>

--- handle symbol environment...
--- computing discriminating functions...

<<the discriminating functions of the generic functions are computed>>

--- marking all exported bindings...
--- converting to MZS

<<conversion into a machine level intermediate language>>


<<s shows that the side effect analysis of functions is made,
  S shows the summary of the analysis results>>


<<each star or point shows the treatment of a function;
  i means in-line was made;
  b means the types within the type inference of
  the functions are balanced>>

Reduce type schemes of statements ... done.
Reduce type schemes of functions ... done.
Convert type schemes to range and domain vectors ... done.
--- converting MZS to LZS...

<<conversion from the machine level intermediate language into the Lisp-level
  intermediate language>>

--- generating C-code
--- end of compilation ---

Total number of analysed function calls: 744
Total number of joined function call descriptors: 0 (0.00 %)

Total number of inferred function type schemes: 67
Total number of joined type scheme descriptors: 28 (41.79 %)

Total number of inferred classes: 2125
Total number of inferred abstract classes: 0 (0.00 %)

<<analysis statistics which show the number of analyzed functions, the number
  of infered classes. It is also printed the percentage of abstract classes;
  the less the number of abstract classes the more the number of instantiable

"end of compilation"


In module takl (contained in the Examples directory) the functions takl and gtakl are defined and exported. takl is a simple function without generic functions, gtakl is written with the generic function gshorterp. With the import of the module level-0 the whole functionality of level-0 of EuLisp is given.

The file associated with the module takl has to have the name takl.em.

(defmodule takl              ; definition of module takl
    (import (level-0)
     syntax (level-0)
     export (takl gtakl)     ; export of functions takl and gtakl

  (defun shorterp (x y)      ;auxiliary function for takl
    (if (null y )            ;without generic
      (if  (null x) t
        (shorterp (cdr x)
                  (cdr y))) ))

  (defun takl (x y z)
    (if (null (shorterp y x))
      (takl (takl (cdr x) y z)
            (takl (cdr y) z x)
            (takl (cdr z) x y))))

;;; takl with generic shorterp
  (defgeneric gshorterp ((x <list>) y)) ;auxiliary generic function for gtakl

  (defmethod gshorterp ((x <null>) y)

  (defmethod gshorterp ((x <cons>) y)
    (if (null y)
      (gshorterp (cdr x) (cdr y))))

  (defun gtakl (x y z)
    (if (null (gshorterp y x))
      (gtakl (gtakl (cdr x) y z)
             (gtakl (cdr y) z x)
             (gtakl (cdr z) x y))))

  )                     ; end of module

The next example shows an interface to C to measure run time of functions takl and gtakl imported from the module takl. You can see the special keyword c-import which imports the C-file timing.c contained in the currend release. The linking of the C-functions start_timer and timer was made with help of the form %declare-external-function. In this form the names of this function in EuLisp and in C and the types for the arguments and result in C are declared.

The file associated with the module test-takl has to have the name test-takl.em.

(defmodule test-takl
    (import (level-0
             (only (%void
     syntax (level-0)
     c-import ("timing.h")      ;extension of module syntax

  (defun listn (n)
    (if (= n 0)
      (cons n (listn (- n 1)))))

  (deflocal l24 (listn 24))
  (deflocal l18 (listn 18))
  (deflocal l12 (listn 12))
  (deflocal l6 (listn 6))

  ;;declaration of external functions called from EuLisp
  ;;to measure cpu consumption
  ;;start_timer sets the first time stamp
  ;;timer gets a char * string containing format directives
  ;;to print the values of elapsed user time system time and their sum
  ;;char* strings has to be  written as Tail-literals in the following
  ;;form: (%literal %string () "string")


    (start-timer %void)          ; the name of the function is start-timer,
    ; result of start-timer is void
    ()                           ; no args
    external-name |start_timer|  ; the name in C is start_timer
    language C)                  ; the used foreign language is C


    (timer %void)                ; the name of the function is timer
    ; result of timer is void
    ((string %string))           ; one arg string of type char *
    external-name |timer|        ; the name in C is timer
    language C)                  ; the used foreign language is C

  (deflocal result ())

  (setq result (takl l24 l12 l6))
  (timer (%literal %string () "\ntakl: %.2f sec (%.2f sec system)"))
  (format t "~%(takl l24 l12 l6) -> ~a~%" result)


To Do