Getting started / Tutorials

Advanced Installation

Roswell as a scripting environment

Roswell as an implementation manager

Roswell as a Testing Environment

Distributing applications


For Developers/Maintainers


After installation, don't miss the recommended setup. It is necessary to link Slime with Roswell so that installing packages with Slime does this in the context of Roswell.

Note: This may be your first experience with Lisp and you might have tried other methods/tutorials that you found on the internet (none of which worked for you). Or, you could have managed to make it work but without confidence, only later you found roswell. Our advice is that you are better off removing whatever you did previously, or you end up having two duplicate copies of lisp implementations / quicklisp / asdf, which complicates the matter.


  • libcurl (both v3 and v4 should work) : used for downloading the lisp implementation binaries, etc.
  • automake (required when building from source)
  • developmental headers of libcurl (required when building from source)
  • on Ubuntu, libcurl4-openssl-dev works but libcurl4-nss-dev may not work

Mac OS X + Homebrew

$ brew install roswell


On Arch, Roswell is available in AUR:

$ yay -S roswell

On Void, Roswell is available in xbps:

$ sudo xbps-install -S roswell

on Gentoo, Roswell is available in portage:

$ emerge --ask dev-lisp/roswell

(Please note that you cannot install Roswell and dev-libs/librouteros simultaneously due to binary file collision.)

Support for other distributions/packaging systems (e.g. debian-based, redhat-based) is future work. However, building from source is fairly straightforward and somewhat stable. See the last section.

Or, you can use Homebrew. It's same way.

$ brew install roswell

On Ubuntu/Debian, there seems to be someone who managed to install from the release tarball or the deb file in, for example:

$ curl -L --output roswell.deb
$ sudo dpkg -i roswell.deb

If you want to get a latest debian package, you can do that with;

curl -sOL `curl -s | jq -r '.assets | .[] | select(.name|test("\\\.deb$")) | .browser_download_url'`

(you need jq superior to 1.4)


Roswell is available in the FreeBSD ports tree. To install it system-wide

$ cd /usr/ports/devel/roswell 
$ sudo make install

To avoid system-wide installation, simply define a PREFIX (must be an absolute path)

$ cd /usr/ports/devel/roswell
$ sudo make PREFIX=/usr/home/<username>/.local install 


Using Scoop.

$ scoop install roswell

Or, if you want to do it manually, just follow the link corresponding to your environment at the latest release page.

  • Latest release
  • roswell_<version> for 64bit
  • roswell_<version> for 32bit

Building from Source

Instructions for a system-wide installation follows. The ./configure script has several useful options, see ./configure --help for details. Note this instruction is for Debian based Linux (Debian, Ubuntu, Mint, etc.).

On Debian/Ubuntu, in a nutshell:

sudo apt-get -y install git build-essential automake libcurl4-openssl-dev
git clone -b release
cd roswell
sh bootstrap
sudo make install
ros setup

On some versions, sudo apt-get install zlib1g-dev may also be necessary.

To avoid system-wide installation,

git clone -b release
cd roswell
sh bootstrap
./configure --prefix=$HOME/.local
make install
echo 'PATH=$HOME/.local/bin:$PATH' >> ~/.profile
PATH=$HOME/.local/bin:$PATH ros setup

(for more details see Local installation)

On a Red Hat based Linux (Fedora, CentOS), replace the first line with

On FreeBSD replace the first line with sudo pkg install git automake curl. You may also need to set the include and library search paths prior to running configure.

LDFLAGS="-L/usr/local/lib/" CFLAGS="-I/usr/local/include/" ./configure

With nix (NixOS's package manager) you can compile with this command: sh nix-shell -p autoconf automake curl --command 'sh -c "./bootstrap && ./configure && make"'