Environment Variables

Gerbil uses a few environment variables, which affect the behaviour of the runtime and toolchain.


This is the root of your Gerbil workspace, which is the read-write component of the system. If it's not set, then it defaults to ~/.gerbil.

The runtime adds $GERBIL_PATH/lib as the second component of the runtime load path.

The toolchain uses $GERBIL_PATH as default artifact output directory:

  • gxc outputs compiled modules to $GERBIL_PATH/lib, unless otherwise instructed.
  • :std/make outputs compiled modules to $GERBIL_PATH/lib and binaries to $GERBIL_PATH/bin, unless otherwise instructed.


This is a colon separated list of directories to be appended to the runtime load path. You can use this for loading site specific libraries. By default it's unset, which is equivalent to an empty value.


This is the program name or path to the gxc compiler executable; defaults to gxc (or to full path to gxc, on a Nix build). Currently it is only used by std/make and std/build-script, and only when building software in parallel (which is now the default, but can be disabled with the GERBIL_BUILD_CORES variable below).


This is the program name or path to gcc; defaults to gcc resolving from your $PATH..


If you have configured Gerbil with --enable-c++, you should set GERBIL_GCC=g++.


This is the program name or path to the ar executable; defaults to ar resolving from your $PATH.


This is the number of cores that std/make and std/build-script will use when building Gerbil programs, by spawning accordingly many compiler processes in parallel, (mostly instances of gxc, gsc and gcc). If a parallel: argument is provided to make or defbuild-script, it will take precedence over this variable. If no such argument is provided and the variable is undefined or invalid, the number of cores present is auto-detected from the Operating System and used.

You can wholly disable parallelism by exporting GERBIL_BUILD_CORES=0, at which point the Gerbil part of compilation will be done in the current process. By contrast, GERBIL_BUILD_CORES=1 enforces use of subprocesses for Gerbil compilation, even though only one process will be run at once.


If this variable is set, gxpkg will clone packages using git over ssh instead of https.

Set this if you want to access private repose.


This variable is consulted by the gxtags tool when generating TAGS. It can have the value emacs for emacs TAGS or vim for vi/vim/neovim TAGS.

If unset, the default format is emacs, so you should set this if you are a vim user.