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initial version of build and contributing guide

This guide is meant to replace "INSTALL.txt" and create
a long-term home for advice on contributing.
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mflatt committed Oct 15, 2019
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#lang scribble/manual
@(require "common.rkt"

@title[#:tag "build"]{Building Racket from Source}

In a checkout of the Racket @hyperlink[git-repo]{Git repository}, you
could try just running


but we recommend that you at least consider the information in
@secref["src"] and @secref["modes"].

@; ------------------------------------------------------------
@section[#:tag "src"]{Git Repository versus Source Distribution}

Instead of building from the @hyperlink[git-repo]{Git repository},
consider getting source for the current Racket release from


or get a source snapshot (updated daily) from


The @onscreen{Source + built packages} options from those sites will
build and install especially quickly, because platform-independent
bytecode and documentation are pre-built.

In contrast to the Git repository, release and snapshot source
distributions will work in the

@commandline{configure --prefix=... && make && make install}

way that you probably expect.

@; ------------------------------------------------------------
@section[#:tag "modes"]{Git Repository Build Modes}

The rest of this chapter assumes that you're sticking with the
@hyperlink[git-repo]{source repository}. In that case, you still have
several options:


@item{@bold{In-place build} --- This mode is the default. It creates
a build in the @filepath{racket} subdirectory and installs packages
that you specify (or the @filepath{main-distribution} plus
@filepath{main-distribution-test} package by default). Any package
implementations that reside in the @filepath{pkgs} subdirectory are
linked in-place. This is the most natural mode for developing
Racket itself or staying on the bleeding edge. See
@secref["quick-in-place"] for more instructions.}

@item{@bold{Unix-style install} --- This mode installs to a given
destination directory (on platforms other Windows), leaving no
reference to the source directory. This is the most natural mode
for installing once from the source repository. See
@secref["quick-unix-style"] for more instructions.}

@item{@bold{Minimal} --- This mode is like a source distribution, and
it is described in the @filepath{src} subdirectory of
@filepath{racket} (i.e., ignore the repository's root directory and
@filepath{pkgs} subdirectory). Build a minimal Racket using the
usual @exec{configure && make && make install} steps (or similar
for Windows), and then you can install packages from the catalog
server with @exec{raco pkg}.}

@item{@bold{Installers} --- This mode creates Racket distribution
installers for a variety of platforms by farming out work to
machines that run those platforms. This is the way that Racket
snapshots and releases are created, and you can create your own.
See @secref["distribute"] for more instructions.}

@item{@bold{In-place Racket on Chez Scheme build} --- This mode
builds using Chez Scheme via @exec{make cs}. Unless you use various
options described in @secref["build-cs"], this process downloads
Chez Scheme from GitHub, builds a traditional @exec{racket} with
minimal packages, builds Chez Scheme, and then builds Racket on
Chez Scheme using Racket and Chez Scheme. Final executables with
names that end in @litchar{cs} or @litchar{CS} are the Racket on
Chez Scheme variants.}


@; ------------------------------------------------------------
@section[#:tag "quick-in-place"]{Quick Instructions: In-Place Build}

On Unix (including Linux) and Mac OS, @exec{make} (or @exec{make in-place})
creates a build in the @filepath{racket} directory.

On Windows with Microsoft Visual Studio (any version between 2008/9.0
and 2019/16.0), @exec{nmake win32-in-place} creates a build in the
@filepath{racket} directory. For information on configuring your
command-line environment for Visual Studio, see

On Windows with MinGW, use @exec{make PLAIN_RACKET=racket/racket},
since MinGW uses Unix-style tools but generates a Windows-layout
Racket build.

In all cases, an in-place build includes (via links) a few packages
that are in the @filepath{pkgs} directory. To get new versions of
those packages, as well as the Racket core, then use @exec{git pull}.
Afterward, or to get new versions of any other package, use @exec{make
in-place} again, which includes a @exec{raco pkg update} step.

See @secref["more"] for more information.

@; ------------------------------------------------------------
@section[#:tag "quick-unix-style"]{Quick Instructions: Unix-Style Install}

On Unix (including Linux), @exec{make unix-style PREFIX=@nonterm{dir}}
builds and installs into @filepath{@nonterm{dir}} (which must be an
absolute path) with binaries in @filepath{@nonterm{dir}/bin}, packages
in @filepath{@nonterm{dir}/share/racket/pkgs}, documentation in
@filepath{@nonterm{dir}/share/racket/doc}, etc.

On Mac OS, @exec{make unix-style PREFIX=@nonterm{dir}} builds and
installs into @filepath{@nonterm{dir}} (which must be an absolute
path) with binaries in @filepath{@nonterm{dir}/bin}, packages in
@filepath{@nonterm{dir}/share/pkgs}, documentation in
@filepath{@nonterm{dir}/doc}, etc.

On Windows, Unix-style install is not supported.

A Unix-style install leaves no reference to the source directory.

To split the build and install steps of a Unix-style installation,
supply @exec{DESTDIR=@nonterm{dest-dir}} with @exec{make unix-style
PREFIX=@nonterm{dir}}, which assembles the installation in
@filepath{@nonterm{dest-dir}} (which must be an absolute path). Then,
copy the content of @filepath{@nonterm{dest-dir}} to the target root

See @secref["more"] for more information.

@; ------------------------------------------------------------
@section[#:tag "more"]{More Instructions: Building Racket}

The @filepath{racket} directory contains minimal Racket, which is just
enough to run @exec{raco pkg} to install everything else. The first
step of @exec{make in-place} or @exec{make unix-style} is to build
minimal Racket, and you can read @filepath{racket/src/README} for more

If you would like to provide arguments to @exec{configure} for the
minimal Racket build, then you can supply them with by adding
@exec{CONFIGURE_ARGS_qq="@nonterm{options}"} to @exec{make in-place}
or @exec{make unix-style}. (The @tt{_qq} suffix on the variable name
@tt{CONFIGURE_ARGS_qq} is a convention that indicates that single- and
double-quote marks are allowed in the value.)

The @filepath{pkgs} directory contains packages that are tied to the
Racket core implementation and are therefore kept in the same Git
repository. A @exec{make in-place} links to the package in-place,
while @exec{make unix-style} copies packages out of @filepath{pkgs} to
install them.

To install a subset of the packages in @filepath{pkgs}, supply @exec{PKGS} value to
@exec{make}. For example,

@commandline{make PKGS="gui-lib readline-lib}
links only the @filepath{gui-lib} and @filepath{readline-lib} packages
and their dependencies. The default value of @exec{PKGS} is
@tt{"main-distribution main-distribution-test"}. If you run @tt{make}
a second time, all previously installed packages remain installed and
are updated, while new packages are added. To uninstall previously
selected package, use @exec{raco pkg remove}.
To build anything other than the latest sources in the repository
(e.g., when building from the @tt{v6.2.1} tag), you need a catalog
that's compatible with those sources. Note that a release distribution
is configured to use a catalog specific to that release, so you can
extract the catalog's URL from there.
Using @exec{make} (or @exec{make in-place}) sets the installation's
name to @tt{development}, unless the installation has been previously
configured (i.e., unless the @filepath{racket/etc/config.rktd} file
exists). The installation name affects, for example, the directory
where user-specific documentation is installed. Using @exec{make} also
sets the default package scope to @exec{installation}, which means
that packages are installed by default into the installation's space
instead of user-specific space. The name and/or default-scope
configuration can be changed through @exec{raco pkg config}.
Note that @exec{make -j @nonterm{n}} controls parallelism for the
makefile part of a build, but not for the @exec{raco setup} part. To
control both the makefile and the @exec{raco setup} part, use
@commandline{make CPUS=@nonterm{n}}
which recurs with @exec{make -j <n> JOB_OPTIONS="-j <n>"}. Setting
@exec{CPUS} also works with @exec{make unix-style}.
Use @exec{make as-is} (or @exec{nmake win32-as-is}) to perform the
same build actions as @exec{make in-place}, but without consulting any
package catalogs or package sources to install or update packages. In
other words, use @exec{make as-is} to rebuild after local changes that
could include changes to the Racket core. (If you change only
packages, then @exec{raco setup} should suffice.)
If you need even more control over the build, carry on to
@secref["even-more"] further below.
@; ------------------------------------------------------------
@section[#:tag "build-cs"]{More Instructions: Building Racket on Chez Scheme}
The @exec{make cs} target (or @exec{make cs-as-is} for a rebuild, or
@exec{nmake win32-cs} on Windows with Visual Studio) builds a variant
of Racket that runs on Chez Scheme. By default, the executables for
the Racket-on-Chez variant all have a @litchar{cs} or @litchar{CS}
suffix, and they coexist with a traditional Racket build by keeping
compiled files in a machine-specific subdirectory of the
@filepath{compiled} directory. You can remove the @litchar{cs} suffix
and the subdirectory in @filepath{compiled} by providing
@exec{RACKETCS_SUFFIX=""} to @exec{make}. (One day, if all goes well,
the default for @exec{RACKETCS_SUFFIX} will change from @tt{"cs"} to
Building Racket on Chez Scheme requires an existing Racket and Chez
Scheme. If you use @exec{make cs} with no further arguments, then the
build process will bootstrap by building a traditional variant of
Racket and by downloading and building Chez Scheme.
If you have a sufficiently recent Racket installation already with at
least the @filepath{compiler-lib} package installed, you can supply
@exec{RACKET=...} with @exec{make cs} to skip that part of the
bootstrap. And if you have a Chez Scheme source directory already, you
can supply that with @exec{SCHEME_SRC=@nonterm{dir}} instead of
downloading a new copy:
@margin-note{For now, Racket on Chez requires the variant of Chez Scheme at
@commandline{make cs RACKET=racket SCHEME_SRC=path/to/ChezScheme}
Use @exec{make both} to build both traditional Racket and Racket on
Chez Scheme, where packages are updated documentation is built only
once (using traditional Racket).
@; ------------------------------------------------------------
@section[#:tag "even-more"]{Even More Instructions: Building Racket Pieces}
Instead of just using @exec{make in-place} or @exec{make unix-style}, you can
take more control over the build by understanding how the pieces fit
@; - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
@subsection{Building Minimal Racket}
Instead of using the top-level makefile, you can go into
@filepath{racket/src} and follow the @filepath{README.txt} there,
which gives you more configuration options.
If you don't want any special configuration and you just want the base
build, you can use @exec{make base} (or @exec{nmake win32-base}) with the
top-level makefile.
Minimal Racket does not require additional native libraries to run,
but under Windows, encoding-conversion, extflonum, and SSL
functionality is hobbled until native libraries from the
@filepath{racket-win32-i386} or @filepath{racket-win32-x86_64} package
are installed.
On all platforms, from the top-level makefile, @exec{JOB_OPTIONS} as a
makefile variable and @exec{PLT_SETUP_OPTIONS} as an environment
variable are passed on to the @exec{raco setup} that is used to build
minimal-Racket libraries. See the documentation for @exec{raco setup}
for information on the options.
For cross compilation, add configuration options to
@exec{CONFIGURE_ARGS_qq="@nonterm{options}"} as described in the
@filepath{README.txt} of @filepath{racket/src}, but also add a
@exec{PLAIN_RACKET=...} argument for the top-level makefile to specify
the same executable as in an @exec{--enable-racket=...} for
@exec{configure}. In general, the @exec{PLAIN_RACKET} setting should
have the form @exec{PLAIN_RACKET="@nonterm{exec} -C"} to ensure that
cross-compilation mode is used and that any foreign libraries needed
for build time can be found, but many cross-compilation scenarios work
without @Flag{C}.
Specify @exec{SETUP_MACHINE_FLAGS=@nonterm{options}} to set Racket
flags that control the target machine of compiled bytecode for
@exec{raco setup} and @exec{raco pkg install}. For example
@exec{SETUP_MACHINE_FLAGS=-M} causes the generated bytecode to be
machine-independent, which is mainly useful when the generated
installation will be used as a template for other platforms or for
@; - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
@subsection{Installing Packages}
After you've built and installed minimal Racket, you could install
packages via the package-catalog server, completely ignoring the
content of @filepath{pkgs}.
If you want to install packages manually out of the @filepath{pkgs}
directory, the @exec{local-catalog} target creates a catalog as
@filepath{racket/local/catalog} that merges the currently configured
catalog's content with pointers to the packages in @filepath{pkgs}. A
Unix-style build works that way: it builds and installs minimal
Racket, and then it installs packages out of a catalog that is created
by @exec{make local-catalog}.
To add a package catalog that is used after the content of
@filepath{pkgs} but before the default package catalogs, specify the
catalog's URL as the @exec{SRC_CATALOG} makefile variable:
@commandline{make .... SRC_CATALOG=@nonterm{url}}
@; - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
@subsection{Linking Packages for In-Place Development Mode}
With an in-place build, you can edit packages within @filepath{pkgs} directly
or update those packages with @exec{git pull} plus @exec{raco setup}, since the
packages are installed with the equivalent of @exec{raco pkg install -i
--static-link @nonterm{path}}.
Instead of actually using @exec{raco pkg install --static-link ...}, the
@exec{pkgs-catalog} makefile target creates a catalog that points to the
packages in @filepath{pkgs}, and the catalog indicates that the packages are to
be installed as links. The @exec{pkgs-catalog} target further configures
the new catalog as the first one to check when installing
packages. The configuration adjustment is made only if no
configuration file @filepath{racket/etc/config.rktd} exists already.
All other packages (as specified by @exec{PKGS}) are installed via the
configured package catalog. They are installed in installation scope, but
the content of @filepath{racket/share/pkgs} is not meant to be edited. To
reinstall a package in a mode suitable for editing and manipulation
with Git tools, use
@commandline{raco pkg update --clone extra-pkgs/@nonterm{pkg-name}}
The @filepath{extra-pkgs} directory name is a convention that is supported by a
@filepath{.gitignore} entry in the repository root.
@@ -0,0 +1,5 @@
#lang racket/base

(provide git-repo)

(define git-repo "")

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