Source Code

The source code for Gerbil is hosted on Github, with the latest release available in releases.

For the latest Gerbil, you can clone the repository:

$ git clone


The latest Gerbil release (v0.15.1) requires Gambit v4.9.0; the latest Gambit is recommended nonetheless (v4.9.3).

The core system has no dependencies outside Gambit, but the standard library has several mostly optional dependencies. The only hard dependency is libcrypto from OpenSSL; important parts of the standard library require it.

All the other dependencies are soft. Most library modules with foreign dependencies are not built by default, with the exception of zlib and sqlite. These are ubiquitous, stable and generally useful enough to warrant being present by default; you can still disable them if you want for a minimal installation.

In Ubuntu, you can install the dependencies for a default installation with:

$ sudo apt-get install openssl libssl-dev sqlite3 libsqlite3-dev

The optional libraries can be enabled or disabled at build-time by editing $GERBIL_HOME/src/std/ You can also enable features later, by editing and running ./ stdlib in $GERBIL_HOME/src/.

Build Instructions

After unpacking a release or checking out the source code from Github, let $GERBIL_HOME be the top directory of Gerbil.


$ cd $GERBIL_HOME/src
$ ./

If you are building in macOS and want to use the homebrew OpenSSL, then you need to specify appropriate CPPFLAGS and LDFLAGS. For instance:

$ LDFLAGS=-L/usr/local/opt/openssl/lib \
  CPPFLAGS=-I/usr/local/opt/openssl/include \

Installation on macOS

Both Gambit and Gerbil are available via homebrew.

$ brew install gerbil-scheme

To get around some brew specific paths, set the following in your environment. Most likely you'll want to add them to your ~/.bashrc, ~/.zsh

$ export PATH=/usr/local/opt/gambit-scheme/current/bin:/usr/local/opt/gerbil-scheme/libexec/bin:$PATH
$ export GERBIL_HOME=/usr/local/opt/gerbil-scheme/libexec

Skip the Install, Get Started on Docker

The latest Gerbil images are available via Docker Hub

Ubuntu based version:

docker pull gerbil/scheme

To get to the REPL:

docker run -it gerbil/scheme

To get a bash shell where you can compile programs:

docker run -it gerbil/scheme bash

Or you can build your own container using the Dockerfile