The Irken Compiler
Irken is a statically-typed, simplified variant of Scheme. Or... a lisp-like variant of ML, depending on your point of view. If you're not familiar with either family of languages, Irken is a strongly typed, compiled language with a lisp-like syntax extensible with macros. It uses type inference along with a powerful type system to give you the speed of a compiled language with high-level data types and a higher degree of safety than languages like C/C++.
- Why: to host massively scalable systems scriptable via a python-like language.
- How: compile a vm using continuation-passing style to avoid using the C stack.
- Blog: http://alien.nightmare.com/
- GitHub: https://github.com/samrushing/irken-compiler/
- Older Source: http://nightmare.com/rushing/irken/
20170217: Merged the LLVM backend, plus many new fixes & features.
The best way to get familiar with the language is to read the source code in the 'self' directory, and browse over the files in "tests".
Irken is now written in itself, so you need to bootstrap it. You can do this via the python script, or manually. [see https://github.com/samrushing/irken-compiler/wiki/bootstrapping-manually]
Just run the script "util/bootstrap.py":
$ python util/bootstrap.py [the default compiler is 'clang', to use gcc: $ CC=gcc python util/bootstrap.py ]
Which does the following:
- compile the distributed version of self/compile.c
- this binary will be used to recompile the compiler.
- that binary will recompile the compiler again.
- the output from steps 2 and 3 are compared, they should be identical.
Note: It is not possible to compile with optimization off, because this disables the tail call optimization that Irken relies on - otherwise the stack will overflow instantly.
At this time (early 2013), clang builds -O3 in about 30 seconds. gcc 4.8 seems to do a better of job of optimizing than clang 3.2, but takes about twice as long to compile.
$ python util/install.py
This will install support files into
/usr/local/lib/irken and the binary as
If you want to use a different prefix (like
rebuild self/compile before installing:
$ self/compile self/compile.scm
Here's a sample - build the toy VM and test it out:
$ cd vm $ irken vm.scm $ ./vm tests/t11.byc
The VM executes some bytecode that runs the 'tak' benchmark 20 times.
You might want to try looking at and understanding the 'verbose' output from the compiler, using a relatively small example:
$ irken -v tests/t_while.scm
Irken will use the CC and CFLAGS environment variables when compiling the C output. You may try out another compiler like this:
$ CC="gcc" CFLAGS="-std=c99 -O2 -I." irken ...
To use the LLVM backend:
$ irken vm.scm -llvm
Note: the llvm backend currently assumes that
-flto can be fed to
clang, this works
on OS X, but seems to fail on FreeBSD & Linux. I think some kind of plugin is needed.
You can remove
flags.scm if necessary.