A while ago I tried with mixed success to get Lisp onto my Gentoo Hardened server. I had to go a binary only route and kind of stopped there not taking it any farther. Now, 2 years later, I need the full meal deal, lisp + emacs + slime, on my server, which is now a Xen VPS with as much hardening as I could get (much less kernel based hardening since it’s the VPS’s kernel). It was still too much for SBCL to compile in portage so here’s what I did to get it all working.

So you need an out of tree binary copy of SBCL. Live with it. It works. The problem with going with out of tree software, especially for a language, is that what ever binary you get isn’t supported and hasn’t been tested against all the software in-tree. For instance I initially tried the newest version of SBCL (1.0.42) but ran into problems with portage’s stable slime.
Ultimately I went with the closest I could get to portage’s stable version. Portage has 1.0.19 marked as the most recent stable version so I went out and downloaded the binary of that version

$ wget  http://sourceforge.net/projects/sbcl/files/sbcl/1.0.19/sbcl-1.0.19-x86-linux-binary.tar.bz2/download
$ tar -xjf sbcl-1.0.19-x86-linux-binary.tar.bz2

So change into the directory and check out INSTALL. Basically installation is easy. Binary SBCL is configured around installing into /usr/local but that can be gotten around. So we’ll go with a more traditional install into /usr

Note: My test box is a VPS with a Xen kernel not a hardened kernel so I didn’t have any PaX problems, but my notes for the last time I tired this on a full hardened install mention that you need do disable some PaX features before SBCL will work:

$ paxctl -p -e -m -r -x -s " on src/runtime/sbcl

Install to /usr

# INSTALL_ROOT=/usr sh install.sh

Now SBCL is installed but it won’t work because the binary is preconfigured to look for the core in /usr/local. So we’ll borrow the gentoo SBCL config files to get that setup properly.




# env-update

The above file and command set up the system environment variables to tell SBCL where it’s really installed. Now is as good a time as and to source /etc/profile to get those changes.

Now SBCL is installed and working, we need to let portage know that. There used to be a emerge --inject method, but that’s been deprecated in place of a new provides file



Now portage knows about our SBCL so we can start installing things that depend on it like the rest of our tool chain

# emerge cl-asdf emacs slime -va

So now we have all the pieces, all they need is some gluing together. Again we’ll borrow from the Gentoo SBCL files.


;;; The following is required if you want source location functions to
;;; work in SLIME, for example.

(setf (logical-pathname-translations "SYS")
    '(("SYS:SRC;**;*.*.*" #p"/usr/$(get_libdir)/sbcl/src/**/*.*")
          ("SYS:CONTRIB;**;*.*.*" #p"/usr/$(get_libdir)/sbcl/**/*.*")))

;;; Setup ASDF
(load "/etc/gentoo-init.lisp")


(in-package #:cl-user)
#+(or sbcl ecl) (require :asdf)
#-(or sbcl ecl) (load #p"/usr/share/common-lisp/source/asdf/asdf.lisp")
(push #p"/usr/share/common-lisp/systems/" asdf:*central-registry*)
(asdf:oos 'asdf:load-op :asdf-binary-locations)
(setf asdf:*centralize-lisp-binaries* t)
(setf asdf:*source-to-target-mappings* '((#p"/usr/lib/sbcl/" nil) (#p"/usr/lib64/sbcl/" nil)))

Now everything should work. You just need to set up your emacs and slime


; your SLIME directory
(add-to-list 'load-path "/usr/share/emacs/site-lisp/slime/")
; your Lisp system
(setq inferior-lisp-program "/usr/bin/sbcl")
(require 'slime)

(global-set-key (kbd "C-c C-q") 'slime-close-all-parens-in-sexp)

Now It’s all glued together, give it a go

$ emacs
M-x slime

If you don’t get any compilation errors you should be in emacs + slime.

And there you have it, SBCL emacs and slime on Gentoo Hardened.


1) For some reason this approach adds some annoying extra text to vanilla SBCL start up that I can’t seem to get rid of

$ sbcl
This is SBCL 1.0.19, an implementation of ANSI Common Lisp.
More information about SBCL is available at <http: //www.sbcl.org/>.

SBCL is free software, provided as is, with absolutely no warranty.
It is mostly in the public domain; some portions are provided under
BSD-style licenses.  See the CREDITS and COPYING files in the
distribution for more information.
; loading system definition from
; /usr/share/common-lisp/systems/asdf-binary-locations.asd into
; #<package "ASDF0">

2) The system I tested this on is a VPS so the kernel is a Xen kernel, not a hardened kernel, so there may be additional complications on a full hardened install. Please let me know if you have any, and especially any working solutions.


Lisper Says:

September 17th, 2010

What version of Xen are you running?

Dan Ballard Says:

September 17th, 2010

What ever version linode.com uses. The kernel I’m using is #1 SMP, their Paravirt version of the kernel.

Stelian Ionescu Says:

September 18th, 2010

In order to get up-to-date CL packages on Gentoo you need to use the lisp overlay – of which I maintain the CL packages – and to keyword all packages as ~arch, since they won’t be stabilized any time soon given the shortage of manpower