[gambit-list] What's the difference between slib and snow?

Marijn hkBst at gentoo.org
Wed May 4 05:13:20 EDT 2011

Hash: SHA1

Hi Charles,

On 04/29/11 08:00, Charles Wang wrote:
> Hi,
>         I am a newcomer to the scheme community. I would like to use
> some portable libraries. After searching on the Internet, I found
> there are "slib" and "snow".
> http://people.csail.mit.edu/jaffer/SLIB
> http://snow.iro.umontreal.ca/?tab=Packages
>         Could anyone know what's the differences between them and
> which one I should stick to?

I know where you're coming from, because I've been there, so I'd like to
offer my views.

First to answer your question: snow is dead, slib is alive but doesn't
seem very popular and I haven't really used it.

For portability try to stay close to R5RS+SRFIs or use (controversial
but some seem to like it specifically for its greater ``portability''
because of its bigger/completer standard) R6RS.
Whichever you choose, there will be some scheme implementations that you
can choose from and they will differ mostly in small ways in the
language that they accept and the way you can activate SRFIs/libraries.
Thus you can choose to create small implementation-specific files which
call the portable core of your code, or if your code is small and you
don't need much, cram it in the way you call your code (an example of
that is in the dumping grounds Ising simulation code that I dumped long
ago (when the server is usable again)).
My advice is to just start with any implementation and if you notice any
limitations/behaviors that annoy you, try your code on a different one
until you find one which works for you. Some implementations are fast,
like Gambit, although it gets a lot faster if you don't forget to ask it
to cut some corners; other implementations have their own strengths and
Once you're more familiar with different implementations it will be
easier to choose which ones you need for what so don't be afraid to
experiment a bit.

Good luck,

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