Quicklisp beta FAQ

Frequently asked questions for the Quicklisp beta.

How can I add a project to Quicklisp?
It's easy to request that a library you write or find be added to Quicklisp. If it's a public project, please create a request with info about where to find it. If you want me to use a specific branch, commit, or release of the project, please include that information in your request. If you'd rather not use github, feel free to send me an email instead.

There are two blog posts on the topic of adding new projects: Getting a library into Quicklisp and Some problems when adding libraries to Quicklisp.

You can make able to make your own private repositories of Quicklisp software (called dists), but it's not documented right now.

How is Quicklisp related to ASDF?
Quicklisp has an archive of project files and metadata about project relationships. It can download a project and its dependencies. ASDF is used to actually compile and load the project and its dependencies.

ASDF is a little like make and Quicklisp is a little like a Linux package manager.

I am behind a firewall. Can I use a proxy?
Yes. After loading quicklisp.lisp, you can use the :proxy option of quicklisp-quickstart:install:

    (quicklisp-quickstart:install :proxy "http://myproxy.site.com:8080/")

Only plain HTTP (no SSL) is supported at this time. Proxy authentication is also not yet supported.

You can change the proxy value after initial installation with this:

    (setf (ql-config:config-value "proxy-url") "http://proxy.value.here")

The value is preserved between Quicklisp sessions.

It's possible to use an intermediate proxy to do SSL, authentication, and more with Quicklisp. See Quicklisp with an Authenticating Proxy for details.

Can I install somewhere other than ~/quicklisp?
Yes. After loading quicklisp.lisp, you can use the :path option of quicklisp-quickstart:install:

    (quicklisp-quickstart:install :path ".quicklisp/")

You can also change the Quicklisp path after installation simply by renaming quicklisp to something else.

I got this error in Emacs when using quicklisp-slime-helper: Searching for program: no such file or directory, lisp
This error occurs because you need to tell slime what Lisp implementation to use by setting an appropriate value for inferior-lisp-program. For example, if you use SBCL, you can add this to your .emacs file:

(setq inferior-lisp-program "sbcl")

The value can also be a full pathname, e.g. /home/xach/bin/clisp.

There are other ways to configure which CL implementation is used when starting slime. See the slime manual for more details.

I got this error: Quicklisp has already been installed.
This error occurs if you load quicklisp.lisp after the initial installation. After Quicklisp has been installed, you don't need to load quicklisp.lisp again. To load Quicklisp into your Lisp, you can use this:

    (load (merge-pathnames "quicklisp/setup.lisp" 

To automatically load Quicklisp when your Lisp starts, you can use this:


Can I load a local project that isn't part of Quicklisp?
Yes. The easiest way is to put the project's directory in Quicklisp's local-projects directory. For example:

    $ cd ~/quicklisp/local-projects/
    $ git clone git://github.com/xach/format-time.git

The project will then be loadable via (ql:quickload "format-time")

Also, any system file that can be found via ASDF's source registry system can be loaded with ql:quickload.

For example, if you have a system file my-project.asd in /projects/my-project/, you can do something like this:

    (push #p"/projects/my-project/" asdf:*central-registry*)
    (ql:quickload "my-project")

If my-project depends on systems that are available via Quicklisp that are not already installed, they will be automatically installed.

Can I load a local version of a project instead of Quicklisp's version?
Yes. Any system file that can be found in a local project directory or in ASDF's source registry system will be loaded in preference to Quicklisp's version of the system. See Can I load a local project that isn't part of Quicklisp? for an example.

Do I have to install Quicklisp separately for multiple Lisps?
No. You can use one installation of Quicklisp among multiple implementations of Common Lisp. As long as they load the same setup.lisp, they will share metadata and software files. FASL files are automatically separated by ASDF's output translations mechanism.

Can I install or move Quicklisp somewhere other than ~/quicklisp/?
Yes. During installation, you can use the :path option to install it to any location you want. For example:

    (quicklisp-quickstart:install :path "/Users/xach/.quicklisp/")

After installation, you can also move the quicklisp directory to a different place. The directory is self-contained and can be renamed or moved anywhere you like.

Making use of Quicklisp from any directory is a matter of loading the setup.lisp file from that directory. All other work is done relative to that file.

How can I support Quicklisp?
There are a few ways:

All help is greatly appreciated.

Zach Beane 2020-11-16