[aur-general] Available: A lot of eggs for Chicken Scheme...

Jim Pryor lists+aur-general at jimpryor.net
Fri Dec 11 20:13:56 EST 2009

I'm exploring various Scheme implementations and at the moment am liking
Chicken. I don't know the community very well, but it sounds like it's
one of the large and active Scheme communities. For the casual
bystander: the Lisp community is fractured into Scheme and Common Lisp,
and each of these is further fractured into many different
"implementations." Maybe the biggest Scheme community is PLT Scheme? I
don't know. But Chicken is one of the large ones.

Chicken Scheme has a package system. They call their packages "eggs" (they
did this before Python did) and there's a lot of them available, at

For my own use, I converted all of these I could build (217 of them, I
think) to Arch packages. Of course I automated the process, but there
was a lot of refining of the automation and further tweaking.

Now I've got all of these chicken-* packages I could make available on
AUR. I think anyone else using Arch and Chicken would find them very
convenient. Chicken has its own package management system, but if you
use Arch I think it's nicer to do things through pacman. (In the same way
that we like to manage perl modules through pacman.)

However, I don't know how much I'm going to be able to commit to
maintaining these packages. Some of the packages I certainly won't be
using myself. I'm not even sure how long, or how seriously, I'll be
using Chicken Scheme. It won't be my main programming environment. 
But I do like it so far and I want to find a Scheme implementation I can stick with
and have handy. Maybe this is it.

Still, I don't have much time and I'm not confident I'll be able to give
these packages much attention down the road.

What should I do? Post them to AUR and maintain them minimally
until someone else comes along who can commit more seriously to them?
Or just leave this note out on the list in the off chance such another
person might come across it?

The packages I'd submit all check fine with namcap (and as I've said,
I've built and installed them all, though I haven't run the tests on them. I didn't have the time
to automate or tweak the building of the test dependencies.) The only
exceptions are: there are often some redundant dependencies, for
instance if package A depends on B and C, and B also depends on C,
namcap wants you just to list B in A's depends. But the way
Chicken calculates dependencies made it much easier to automate the
PKGBUILD-generation with A depending on both B and C.

The other exception is the licenses. A few unclear cases aside, I was
always able to list the right license in the PKGBUILD.
But there are a lot of BSD and MIT licenses in the pack. What I'm
supposed to do then is say license=(BSD) and install a copy of the
license in /usr/share/licenses/$pkgname. But the downloads from the
Chicken repository don't provide separate license files. I'd have to
extract the license from comments in the source code, and I haven't done
that for these 217 packages.

Other than that I think the packages are all fine. My automatic script
generates all but 10 or so of them, those last 10 it's easiest to tweak by hand.

Jim Pryor
profjim at jimpryor.net

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