The Scam Programming Language
designed and developed by: John C. Lusth
Revision Date: Sun Jan 13 2019
Scam is a nifty little language
that looks a lot like Scheme, but is so much more.
Scam's homepage is
an impure functional language with Scheme-like syntax
a language where writing iterators like while and for
is possible purely through function definition
a language where everything is a function,
including define and set!
-- overloading these functions can be fun!
a fully object-oriented language with trivial syntax and
a language with programmer-controlled delayed
a language with built-in garbage collection
a language that optimizes tail-recurion
a language that supports multi-threading
Scam versus Scheme
For Scheme programmers, here is a list of important
differences: quick hits.
Latest Scam versions:
To install Scam, perform the following steps
(usingscam-2.4b-amd64a.tgz as an example - make sure you use
the right package for your particular system).
Note: Windows 10 users must have the Linux Bash subsystem installed.
Other versions of Windows are not supported.
If you have trouble installing Scam, send a message to
In a bash shell,
make a directory named scam that hangs off your home directory.
Move into that directory:
Set your architecture:
export arch=`dpkg --print-architecture`
Retrieve the tarball:
wget beastie.cs.ua.edu/scam/scam-2.4b-amd64.tgz #change, if necessary
Mac users may need to use verb!curl -O! instead of verb!wget!.
Extract the files in the tarball:
tar xvzf scam-2.4b-amd64.tgz
Copy the scam executable to a directory in your path:
cp scam ~/bin # if you have your own bin
or you can put verb!~/scam! in your path.
If you don't know what a path is, then do this instead:
sudo cp scam /usr/bin
It's unlikely, but you may need to install the readline library. On
a Debian system like Ubuntu, you would issue the following command:
sudo apt-get install libreadline7
Look to the interwebs for instructions on how to install readline
on other systems.
Learning more about Scam
There is an Open Source
reference manual that delves into Scam in detail.
It is called
The Scam Reference Manual.
The reference manual gives the nuts and bolts on the syntax
and semantics of Scam.
About this website
This website is rendered in the Old School style.
Old School is known for its somewhat spartan,
but clean and crisp, no-nonsense, get-down-to-brass-tacks
appearance. Old School was invented by
Tim Berners-Lee during the latter part of the last
century. It is made a bit more flashy using a
This material is based upon work supported by the
National Science Foundation, grant numbers #00244269 and #0633290.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations
expressed in this material are those of the author and
do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.