A project-local library installer

Upstream URL



Eitaro Fukamachi




Build Status

Qlot (pronounced kyü-'lät, like culotte) is a project-local library installer using Quicklisp facility. This aims to be like Bundler of Ruby or Carton of Perl.

Table of Contents


# "qlfile" of "myapp"
git clack https://github.com/fukamachi/clack.git
github fukamachi/datafly :branch v0.7.x
ql log4cl 2014-03-17
ql mito :upstream
$ cd /path/to/myapp

# Installing libraries project-locally.
$ qlot install

# Updating specific libraries
$ qlot update mito

# Updating all depending libraries of a project.
$ qlot update

# Execute a command with a project-local Quicklisp
$ qlot exec ros -S . run
$ qlot exec clackup app.lisp

What Qlot is trying to solve

We have Quicklisp, the central library registry. It made installation of libraries damn easy.

However, what only you can specify is the month of distribution. Which means you have to use all libraries of the same moment and you cannot use a newer/older version of a library for your project.

"local-projects/" or ASDF configurations may be a solution to this problem, but there are a couple of problems.

  1. They are not project-local. If you have multiple projects that use the different version of the same library, it would be a problem.

  2. They are difficult to fix the version or to update them. If your project need to work on other than your machine, for instance on other people's machine or on servers, the version of depending libraries should be the same.

This is what Qlot is trying to solve.


  • Roswell or SBCL
  • OpenSSL (Unix only)
    • [Ubuntu/Debian] apt install libssl-dev
    • [macOS] brew install openssl
  • git (for installation from git repositories)


Automatic installer

$ curl -L https://qlot.tech/installer | bash

It also requires curl and tar.

To uninstall Qlot, run a Qlot uninstaller like:

$ ~/.qlot/qlot/scripts/qlot-uninstaller.sh

via Roswell

If you're already using Roswell, Qlot can be installed by ros install.

$ ros install qlot              # Install from the Quicklisp dist
$ ros install fukamachi/qlot    # Install the latest version from the git repository

Roswell adds an executable script under $HOME/.roswell/bin. Make sure if the directory exists in $PATH.

$ which qlot

Run ros update qlot to update Qlot.

via Quicklisp

If Quicklisp is set up on your home directory, Qlot can be installed by ql:quickload.

$ sbcl --noinform --eval '(ql:quickload (list :qlot :qlot/distify))' --quit
$ sudo printf '#!/bin/sh\nexec sbcl --noinform --non-interactive --eval "(ql:quickload :qlot/cli :silent t)" --eval "(qlot/cli:main)" "$@"\n' > /usr/local/bin/qlot
$ sudo chmod u+x /usr/local/bin/qlot

To update Qlot, run (ql:update-all-dists) in the REPL.

Manual installation

If you don't use both of Roswell and Quicklisp for some reason, Qlot also can be installed from the source code.

$ git clone https://github.com/fukamachi/qlot
$ cd qlot
$ scripts/setup.sh
$ sudo printf '#!/bin/sh\nexec '`pwd`'/scripts/run.sh "$@"\n' > /usr/local/bin/qlot
$ sudo chmod u+x /usr/local/bin/qlot

To update Qlot, run git pull && scripts/setup.sh.

WARNING: Don't add the Qlot source directory to any ASDF loadable directories, such as ~/common-lisp or ~/quicklisp/local-projects. ASDF accidentally loads dependencies of Qlot in a REPL even in case you don't need it. (See also ASDF configuration section)

via Docker

Docker Pulls

$ docker run --rm -it fukamachi/qlot

Optional settings

ASDF configuration to prevent from loading by mistake

ASDF loads any ASD files under a directory ~/common-lisp including its subdirectories. It is easily understandable and convenient. However, it will lead a problematic situation that ASDF accidentally loads libraries under ".qlot/" even in case you don't need it.

To avoid the situation, we recommend not to use ~/common-lisp directory, or add the following lines to your Lisp's init file such as ~/.sbclrc for SBCL.

;; .sbclrc
(push ".qlot" asdf::*default-source-registry-exclusions*)

Roswell doesn't require this setting since it ignores directories starting with a dot.


Start using Qlot

$ qlot init

It creates 2 files "qlfile" and "qlfile.lock", and a directory ".qlot/" at the root of your project directory.

qlfile is a file clarifying the project dependencies. See qlfile syntax for the detail.

qlfile.lock is similar to qlfile except the library versions are clarified. This will ensure that other developers or your deployment environment use exactly the same versions of libraries you just installed.

Make sure you add qlfile and qlfile.lock to your version controlled repository.

$ git add qlfile qlfile.lock
$ git commit -m 'Start using Qlot.'

Adding a new dependency

$ qlot add <library name>                 # Add a new library from Quicklisp explicitly
$ qlot add github <username/repository>   # Add a new library from a GitHub repository

You can also edit a qlfile file directly. See qlfile syntax section to know how to write it. Be sure to run qlot install to install new dependencies.

Updating the project-local Quicklisp

You can update the version of dependencies via:

$ qlot update

# Update a specific project
$ qlot update mito
$ qlot update mito sxql

It will also overwrite qlfile.lock.



qlot install will install Quicklisp and libraries that declared in qlfile project-locally. qlfile.lock will be used with precedence if it exists.

$ qlot install
$ qlot install /path/to/myapp/qlfile


qlot update will update the project-local .qlot/ directory using qlfile.

$ qlot update

# Update a specific project
$ qlot update mito
$ qlot update mito sxql


qlot add will add a line to qlfile and invoke qlot install internally. Its arguments are same as the qlfile syntax.

$ qlot add mito                          # ql mito
$ qlot add ql mito                       # ql mito (Same as the above)
$ qlot add ultralisp egao1980-cl-idna    # ultralisp egao1980-cl-idna
$ qlot add github fukamachi/datafly      # github datafly fukamachi/datafly


qlot exec does following:

  • configures ASDF's source registries;
  • adds Roswell's bin directory to the PATH environment variable;
  • executes given command with arguments.

Here are few useful commands:

  • qlot exec ros emacs - starts Emacs for development. Inferior lisp will use only systems, installed by qlot install. If you want to use systems from directories other than current and ./.qlot/, then set CL_SOURCE_REGISTRY variable before starting qlot. This can be useful in case, if you have development versions of some systems, for example, in ~/common-lisp/ directory and want to use them during project development:

    CL_SOURCE_REGISTRY=~/common-lisp// qlot exec ros emacs

    Read more about CL_SOURCE_REGISTRY in asdf's documentation.

  • qlot exec ros build some-app.ros - another command, useful, to build a binary from systems, fixed in qlfile and qlfile.lock. This way you can be sure that your builds are stable.

NOTE: qlot exec is only affects to ros or Roswell scripts.

If you're using Qlot without Roswell, load .qlot/setup.lisp instead, like:

$ sbcl --noinform --no-userinit --no-sysinit --load .qlot/setup.lisp

qlfile syntax

"qlfile" is a collection of Quicklisp dist declarations. Each line of that represents a dist.

<source> <project name> [arg1, arg2..]

Currently, <source> must be one of dist, ql, ultralisp, http, git or github.


ql <project name> <version>
ql <project name>

ql source will download libraries from Quicklisp official dist.

If you want to use Clack in Quicklisp dist of January 13, 2014, qlfile would be like this.

ql clack 2014-01-13

If :latest is specified for the version, the latest Quicklisp dist version will be used.

If :upstream is specified, Qlot downloads the latest code from the upstream git repository.


ultralisp <project name> <version>
ultralisp <project name>

ultralisp is same as ql except downloading from Ultralisp.


http <project name> <url> [<file md5>]

http source will download a tarball.

http yason http://netzhansa.com/yason.tar.gz


git <project name> <repos url>
git <project name> <repos url> :ref <commit ref>
git <project name> <repos url> :branch <branch name>
git <project name> <repos url> :tag <tag name>

git source will download libraries from a public git repository.

git clack https://github.com/fukamachi/clack.git

You can also specify :ref, :branch or :tag.

git clack https://github.com/fukamachi/clack.git :branch develop
git datafly https://github.com/fukamachi/datafly.git :tag v0.7.4
git cl-dbi https://github.com/fukamachi/cl-dbi.git :ref 54928984e5756e92ba298aae51de8b95a6b0cf4b

Retrieving from private repository

Qlot doesn't authenticate itself, but retrieving from private repository can be done via git's SSH key authentication. Which means, if the current user can git clone, Qlot also would be possible to do it.

git myapp git@github.com:somewrite-adtech/myapp


github <username/repository>
github <username/repository> :ref <commit ref>
github <username/repository> :branch <branch name>
github <username/repository> :tag <tag name>

github source is similar to git, but it is specifically for GitHub. As it uses GitHub API and tarballs GitHub serves, it doesn't require "git" command.

github fukamachi/datafly
github fukamachi/datafly :branch develop


local <project name> <directory path>

Add a directory to the ASDF's source registry.

local rove ~/Programs/lib/rove


dist <dist name> <distribution URL> [<dist version>]

dist allows to use a custom Quicklisp dist, like Ultralisp.

dist quicklisp http://beta.quicklisp.org/dist/quicklisp.txt
dist ultralisp http://dist.ultralisp.org/

Priorities of distributions

If multiple distributions provide the same library, lower one would take priority over higher ones.

Working with SLIME

SLIME is the most popular development environment in Common Lisp. However, its REPL always loads the global Quicklisp, not the project-local one.

Here's quick steps to start project-local REPL with SLIME for each text editors:


  1. Add lem-project/micros to .qlot/local-projects.
$ git clone https://github.com/lem-project/micros .qlot/local-projects/micros
  1. Add the following function to ~/.lem/init.lisp.
(define-command slime-qlot-exec (directory) ((prompt-for-directory (format nil "Project directory (~A): " (buffer-directory))))
  (let ((command (first (lem-lisp-mode/implementation::list-roswell-with-qlot-commands))))
    (when command
      (lem-lisp-mode:run-slime command :directory directory))))
  1. Relaunch the Lem, or reload the init file with M-x lisp-load-file RET ~/.lem/init.lisp.

  2. Invoke M-x slime-qlot-exec RET /path/to/project/.


  1. Add one of the following functions to init.el.

a) SBCL version

(defun slime-qlot-exec (directory)
  (interactive (list (read-directory-name "Project directory: ")))
  (slime-start :program "sbcl"
               :program-args `("--no-userinit" "--no-sysinit" "--load" ,(concat (file-name-as-directory directory) ".qlot/setup.lisp"))
               :directory directory
               :name 'qlot
               :env (list (concat "PATH=" (mapconcat 'identity exec-path ":")))))

b) Roswell version

(defun slime-qlot-exec (directory)
  (interactive (list (read-directory-name "Project directory: ")))
  (slime-start :program "qlot"
               :program-args '("exec" "ros" "-S" "." "run")
               :directory directory
               :name 'qlot
               :env (list (concat "PATH=" (mapconcat 'identity exec-path ":")))))
  1. Relaunch the Emacs.
  2. Invoke M-x slime-qlot-exec RET /path/to/project/.


  1. Install vlime/vlime.
  2. Add the following code to your Vim/Neovim init.vim.
let g:vlime_cl_use_terminal = v:true
let s:vlime_path = '/path/to/vlime'
function! VlimeBuildServerCommandFor_qlot(vlime_loader, vlime_eval)
    return ["qlot", "exec", "ros", "run",
               \ "--load", s:vlime_path . "/lisp/load-vlime.lisp",
               \ "--eval", vlime_eval]
function! VlimeQlotExec()
    call vlime#server#New(v:true, get(g:, "vlime_cl_use_terminal", v:false), v:null, "qlot")
  1. Relaunch the Vim/Neovim.
  2. Change the directory by :cd /path/to/project/ and invoke :call VlimeQlotExec().

Working with local git repositories

PROJECT_ROOT/.qlot/local-projects can be used for local git repositories. Symbolic links are also be accessible in Qlot environment.



See LICENSE.txt.

The license of bundled Quicklisp installer can be found at quicklisp/LICENSE.txt.

Dependencies (10)

  • alexandria
  • archive
  • assoc-utils
  • cl+ssl
  • deflate
  • dexador
  • ironclad
  • quri
  • rove
  • yason

Dependents (1)

  • GitHub
  • Quicklisp