Shell C M4 Lua Makefile


Alien - Pure Lua extensions

For more information, see

What is Alien?

Alien is a Foreign Function Interface (FFI) for Lua. An FFI lets you
call functions in dynamic libraries (.so, .dylib, .dll, etc.) from Lua
code without having to write, compile and link a C binding from the
library to Lua. In other words, it lets you write extensions that call
native code using just Lua.

Alien works on Unix-based systems and Windows. It has been tested on
Linux/x86, Linux/x64, Linux/ARM, FreeBSD/x86, Windows/x86, OS X/x86,
and OS X/PPC.

The Windows binary uses MSVCR80.DLL for compatibility with LuaBinaries.

Installing Alien

The best way to install Alien is through
[LuaRocks]( just do `luarocks install alien`.

Alien is based on libffi. On a GNU/Linux system you should be able to install it with your package manager; 
it is probably called something like `libffi-dev` (Debian, Ubuntu etc.) or `libffi-devel` (Fedora, CentOS etc.). 
If your system's package manager does not have libffi, or you don't have a package manager,
you can get the source code from [the libffi project](

Alien uses the GNU build system. For detailed instructions, see
INSTALL. For a quick start:

[If using git sources:


  ./configure && make [&& make install]

You may need to supply non-default paths (e.g. if you are using a
system that supports more than one version of Lua):

For example, on Debian or Ubuntu:

  LUA=lua5.1 CPPFLAGS='-I/usr/include/lua5.1' ./configure --libdir=/usr/local/lib/lua/5.1 --datadir=/usr/local/share/lua/5.1

To run some tests:

  make check


Alien is designed and implemented by Fabio Mascarenhas. It uses the
great [libffi](
library by Anthony Green (and others) to do the heavy lifting of calling
to and from C. The name was stolen from Common Lisp FFIs.


Alien uses the MIT license (the same as Lua).