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C Intermediate Language (CIL)

CIL is a front-end for the C programming language that facilitates program analysis and transformation. CIL will parse and typecheck a program, and compile it into a simplified subset of C.

CIL supports ANSI C as well as most of the extensions of the GNU C and Microsoft C compilers. A Perl script acts as a drop in replacement for either gcc or Microsoft's cl, and allows merging of the source files in your project. Other features include support for control-flow and points-to analyses.

Quick start

Read the excellent CIL tutorial by Zachary Anderson, and check out the accompanying project template.


Run the following commands to build and install CIL:

make test       # regression test suite, optionnal
make install    # as root or using sudo

If you want to install to some other directory, you can change the configure step like this:

FORCE_PERL_PREFIX=1 ./configure --prefix=/opt/cil

You only need the OCaml compiler, perl, and ocamlfind for the installation. (Of course, you also need some C compiler.)


You can use cilly (installed in /usr/local/bin by default) as a drop-in replacement for gcc to compile and link your programs.

You can also use CIL as a library to write your own programs. For instance in the OCaml toplevel using findlib:

$ ocaml
        Objective Caml version 4.00.1

# #use "topfind";;
# #require "cil";;
# Cil.cilVersion;;           
- : string = "1.7.2"

More documentation

The documentation is located in the doc/html/cil directory. The API documentation (generated by ocamldoc) is in the api subdirectory.

To (re)build the doc, you need Hevea and run:

make doc

You can also browse the documentation online.


CIL is maintained by Gabriel Kerneis

Source:, updated 2013-06-27