Install and manage multiple CHICKEN versions.

  1. Dust
  2. Description
    1. Platform Support
    2. Available Versions
  3. Installation
  4. Configuration
  5. Usage
    1. Managing CHICKEN Versions
    2. Executing one-off commands
    3. Installing Ad-hoc CHICKEN Versions
    4. Disabling Dust
  6. Links
  7. License


Dust is a binary-based CHICKEN version manager. It lets one quickly install multiple CHICKEN versions and switch between them.

Platform Support

The following platforms are supported:

More may be added in the future, however this is not a priority and the author does not have reliable access to all platforms. If you'd like to add support for a particular platform, please let the author know and we can try to figure out a maintainable way to provide it.

Available Versions

The following versions can be installed:


On Linux, you can download a precompiled version of the application:

wget -O dust https://foldling.org/dust/dust-$(uname -m)-linux
chmod +x dust

Or you can build the program from source (this requires an existing CHICKEN version 5.0 or newer):

chicken-install -n dust


Dust operates in one of two modes. It can either install CHICKENs into a system-wide installation directory (/opt/dust) or into a user-specific directory (specified by DUST_HOME).

In both cases, user files are isolated from one another, so this is really just a question of where you want to put things. In the former case, you'll need to initialise the installation directory by running dust init (as root), while the latter can be used without root permissions.


Refer to the program's help text:

Usage: dust [--verbose] <command> ...

  init <group>
  install [<name>] <version>
  execute <name> <command> ...
  switch <name>
  uninstall <name>

Managing CHICKEN Versions

To install and activate to a particular version of CHICKEN, use install and switch:

dust install 5.1.0
dust switch 5.1.0

You can use the --verbose flag with the install command to see some status information during the installation.

You can also provide a name for an installed version, which allows you to have multiple instances of the same version installed at once:

dust install project-one 5.1.0
dust install project-two 5.1.0
dust switch project-one

To list available versions, use status. To remove a version, use uninstall:

dust uninstall project-two
dust uninstall 5.1.0

Executing one-off commands

To run a program from a specific version without activating it first, you can use the execute command:

dust execute 5.0.0 chicken -version

Installing Ad-hoc CHICKEN Versions

You can also use Dust to install CHICKEN into a particular directory rather than the standard location. To do so, specify a pathname (including at least one slash):

dust install 5.1.0 ./some/path

This version is self-contained and "unmanaged" in the sense that it won't appear in dust status, you can't switch to it, and so on. To use it, just invoke its programs directly:


Note that versions installed this way cannot be moved. If the path to an ad-hoc CHICKEN version changes, it will no longer work and you'll need to remove the directory and reinstall it.

Disabling Dust

To disable Dust and use the system's CHICKEN version (or any other program named csc, csi, etc.), you can use the disable command:

dust disable

To reenable Dust, just switch back to an installed CHICKEN version.


Dust is licensed under the 3-clause BSD license.