scmutils, 2.3.2

Scheme Mechanics Installation for GNU/Linux



1. The following steps are tested in Ubuntu 18.04. Prepare Ubuntu 18.04 if you can.

Note: Since the installation of the library scmutils requires the root access of your Linux system, please do NOT use it on your working computer. Instead, create an isolated virtual machine to use it.


2. Go to the bottom of this post to click the category scmutils, so that you can see all the posts in this scmutils series.


3. Go to the post titled “scmutils, 2.3” to download


4. Although the official installation guide advises you to install “MIT/GNU Scheme system” before installing scmutils, you do NOT need to install “MIT/GNU Scheme system” at all.

5. Unzip the file scmutils-20160827-x86-64-gnu-linux.

In the following, if you need to copy any commands or programming codes, remember that any number on the left of the vertical green line is NOT part of the code.

6. Run the command

tar xzf scmutils-20160827-x86-64-gnu-linux.tar.gz

to further extract the file.

-x β€” extract files from an archive;
-f β€” specify the archive’s name;
-v β€” show a list of processed files.

— Wikipedia on tar (computing)

Then two folders will be created: bin and scmutils.

7. Run the command

cd bin

to go into the folder.

You will see a file called mechanics.


8.1 Run the command


You will get the error

mechanics: command not found

8.2 Instead, you should run the command


to specify that the file mechanics is actually in the current folder.

You will get the error

./mechanics: line 16: exec: xterm: not found

It is because your Linux system has not the program xterm yet.

8.3 Run the following command to install it.

sudo apt-get install xterm

8.4 Run the command again:


There will be an xterm window popup, but with an error message inside:


That means you should move the two folders, bin and scmutils, to the pre-defined locations.


9.1 Run the command to move the folder scmutils to its pre-defined location:

mv scmutils /usr/local/

You will get the error

mv: cannot move 'scmutils' to '/usr/local/scmutils': 
Permission denied

9.2 Try again by

sudo mv scmutils /usr/local/


10.1 Go inside the folder bin.

10.2 Move its content to the pre-defined location by this command:

sudo mv mechanics /usr/local/bin/


11. Run the command


Then you will see the Edwin window is opened. That means, in theory, you system has successfully installed the scmutils library. You can use it within the Edwin window if you like.

However, in practice, it is difficult, because it provides no syntax-highlighting. Also, you cannot use mouse in the Edwin window, so if you want to copy and paste a command or a series of commands, there will be no obvious way to achieve that.

So I suggest you to use the standard Emacs as the editor instead.


12.1 If you do not know Emacs, learn its basics.

12.2 Also, learn how to open Emacs’ initialization file, which has the filename


After opening the file, you will see that it is just a text file.

12.3 Go to the end of the .emacs file. Add the following code:

(defun mechanics()
     "/usr/local/scmutils/mit-scheme/bin/scheme --library

12.4 Save the file. Close Emacs. Then re-open Emacs.

12.5 Within Emacs, type the command

M-x mechanics

M-x means that while the Alt key is pressed down, press also x. Then type the word mechanics.


12.6 Type the command

(+ 1 1)

to test the system.


13. If you want to access your last command without re-typing it, type the command



— Me@2020-02-22 06:25:47 PM



2020.02.22 Saturday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK