Installing Stainless

General Requirement

  • Java 17 JRE It suffices to have headless OpenJDK JRE 17 (e.g. one that one gets with apt install openjdk-17-jre-headless on Debian/Ubuntu). Make sure that java -version reports a version starting with 1.17, such as openjdk version "1.17 or java version "1.17.

Stainless bundles Scala compiler front-end and runs it before it starts compilation. We recommend using the Scala 3 front end (originally named dotty), though Scala 2 is also available.

Running Code with Stainless dependencies

Using sources:

  1. Clone the sources from

  2. Create a folder to put compiled Scala objects: mkdir -p ~/.scala_objects

  3. Compile your code (here in MyFile.scala, though you can have more than one file) while referring to the Stainless library sources: scalac -d ~/.scala_objects $(find /path/to/stainless/frontends/library/stainless/ -name "*.scala") MyFile.scala

  4. Run your code (replace MyMainClass with the name of your main object): scala -cp ~/.scala_objects MyMainClass

Using jar:

You can package the Stainless library into a jar to avoid the need to compile it every time:

$ cd path/to/stainless/
$ sbt stainless-library/packageBin

Add the generated Stainless library jar file when invoking the compiler with scalac and the JVM with scala or java. For instance:

$ mkdir -p ~/.scala_objects
$ scalac -d ~/.scala_objects -cp /path/to/stainless/frontends/library/target/scala-2.13/stainless-library_2.13-X.Y.Z-A-BCDEFGHI.jar MyFile1.scala MyFile2.scala # and so on
$ scala -cp ~/.scala_objects:/path/to/stainless/frontends/library/target/scala-2.13/stainless-library_2.13-X.Y.Z-A-BCDEFGHI.jar MyMainClass

where X.Y.Z is the Stainless version and A-BCDEFGHI is some hash (which can be autocompleted by the terminal).

External Solver Binaries

If no external SMT solvers (such as Z3 or CVC4) are found, Stainless will use the bundled Scala-based Princess solver

To improve performance, we highly recommend that you install the following two additional external SMT solvers as binaries for your platform:

You can enable these solvers using --solvers=smt-z3 and --solvers=smt-cvc4 flags.

Solver binaries that you install should match your operating system and your architecture. We recommend that you install these solvers as a binary and have their binaries available in the $PATH (as z3 or cvc4).

Note that somewhat lower version numbers of solvers should work as well and might even have different sets of soundness-related issues.

You can use multiple solvers in portfolio mode, as with the options --timeout=15 --solvers=smt-z3,smt-cvc4, where verification succeeds if at least one of the solvers proves (within the given number of seconds) each the verification conditions. We suggest to order the solvers starting from the one most likely to succeed quickly.

For final verification runs of highly critical software, we recommend that (instead of the portfolio mode) you obtain several solvers and their versions, then try a single solver at a time and ensure that each verification run succeeds (thus applying N-version programming to SMT solver implementations).

Install Z3 4.8.14 (Linux & macOS)

  1. Download Z3 4.8.14 from

  2. Unzip the downloaded archive

  3. Copy the z3 binary found in the bin/ directory of the inflated archive to a directory in your $PATH, eg., /usr/local/bin.

  4. Make sure z3 can be found, by opening a new terminal window and typing:

$ z3 --version
  1. The output should read:

Z3 version 4.8.14 - 64 bit`

Install CVC 1.8 (Linux)

  1. Download CVC4 1.8 from (reachable from )

  2. Copy or link the downloaded binary under name cvc4 to a directory in your $PATH, eg., /usr/local/bin.

  1. Make sure cvc4 can be found, by opening a new terminal window and typing:

$ cvc4 --version | head
  1. The output should begin with:

This is CVC4 version 1.8

Install CVC 1.6 (macOS)

  1. Install Homebrew

  2. Install CVC4 using the Homebrew tap at

  3. Make sure cvc4 can be found, by opening a new terminal window and typing:

$ cvc4 --version
  1. The output should begin with:

This is CVC4 version 1.6

Build from Source on Linux & macOS

To build Stainless, we use sbt. In a typical configuration, sbt universal:stage in the root of the source tree should work, yet, in an attempt to be more reproducible and independent from SBT cache and path, the instructions below assume that the directory called stainless does not exist, they instruct sbt to use a relative path for its bootstrap, and do not require adding sbt to your path.

Install SBT

Follow the instructions at to install sbt 1.5.6 (or somewhat later version).

Check out sources

Get the sources of Stainless by cloning the official Stainless repository:

$ git clone
Cloning into 'stainless'...


The following instructions will invoke SBT while using a stainless sub-directory to download files.

$ cd stainless
$ sbt universal:stage

Where to find generated files

The compilation will automatically generate the bash script stainless-dotty (and the Scala2 one stainless-scalac).

You may want to introduce a soft-link from to a file called stainless:

$ ln -s frontends/dotty/target/universal/stage/bin/stainless-dotty stainless

and, for the Scala2 version of the front end,

$ ln -s frontends/scalac/target/universal/stage/bin/stainless-scalac stainless-scalac-old

Analogous scripts work for various platforms and allow additional control over the execution, such as passing JVM arguments or system properties:

$ stainless -Dscalaz3.debug.load=true -J-Xmx6G --help

Note that Stainless is organized as a structure of several projects. The main project lives in core while the two available frontends can be found in frontends/dotty (and frontends/scalac). From a user point of view, this should most of the time be transparent and the build command should take care of everything.

Build from Source on Windows 10

Before following the infrequently updated instructions in this section, considering running Ubuntu on Windows 10 (through e.g. WSL) and following the instructions for Linux.

Get the sources of Stainless by cloning the official Stainless repository. You will need a Git shell for windows, e.g. Git for Windows. On Windows, please do not use sbt universal:stage as this generates a Windows batch file which is unusable, because it contains commands that are too long for Windows. Instead, please use sbt stainless-scalac-standalone/assembly as follows:

$ git clone
Cloning into 'stainless'...
// ...
$ cd stainless
$ sbt stainless-scalac-standalone/assembly
// takes about 1 minutes

Running Stainless can then be done with the command: java -jar frontends\stainless-dotty-standalone\target\scala-3.0.2\stainless-dotty-standalone-{VERSION}.jar, where VERSION denotes Stainless version.

Running Tests

Stainless comes with a test suite. Use the following commands to invoke different test suites:

$ sbt test
$ sbt it:test

It’s also possible to run tests in isolation, for example, the following command runs Extraction tests on all files in termination/looping:

$ sbt 'it:testOnly *ExtractionSuite* -- -z "in termination/looping"'

Building Stainless Documentation

Stainless documentation is available at . To build the documentation locally, you will need Sphinx ( ), a restructured text toolkit that was originally developed to support Python documentation.

  • On Ubuntu 18, you can use sudo apt install sphinx-common

The documentation resides in the core/src/sphinx/ directory and can be built using the provided Makefile. To do this, in a Linux shell, type make html, and open in your web browser the generated top-level local HTML file, by default stored in core/src/sphinx/_build/html/index.html. Also, you can open the *.rst documentation files in a text editor, as they are human-readable in their source form as well.

Note for project maintainers: to build documentation on GitHub Pages, use make gh-pages in the same Makefile, or adapt it to you needs.

Using IDEs with –no-colors option. Emacs illustration

Using command line option --no-colors asks stainless to produce clear 7-bit ASCII output with error messages in a standardized format:

FileName.scala:LineNo:ColNo: text of the error message

This helps IDEs to pick up line numbers and show error location in the source file.

In emacs editor, you can invoke ansi-term and compilation-shell-minor-mode. Then, run

stainless --no-colors <InputFilesAndOptions>

You may also consider using the --watch option.

You should now be able to click on a message for verification condition to jump to the appropriate position in the appropriate file, as well as to use emacs commands previous-error and next-error to navigate through errors and other verification-condition outcomes.

Here is a very simple illustration that introduces an interactive comp-ansi-term command that creates new window with ansi-term and minor compilation mode:

(setq comp-terminal-current-number 1)
(defun create-numbered-comp-terminal ()
  (ansi-term "/bin/bash")
  (rename-buffer (concat "q" (number-to-string comp-terminal-current-number)) 1)
  (setq comp-terminal-current-number (+ comp-terminal-current-number 1))
(defun comp-ansi-term (arg)
  "Run ansi-term with bash and compilation-shell-minor-mode in buffer named q_N for increasing N" (interactive "P")
  (other-window 1)

The following globally binds the above command to the F3 key and binds F7 and F8 to commands for navigating reports:

(global-set-key [f3] 'comp-ansi-term)
(global-set-key [f7] 'previous-error)
(global-set-key [f8] 'next-error)

For more information, please consult the documentation for emacs.