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Typelevel Scala

What is this repository?

This repository contains the Typelevel fork of the Scala compiler.

Typelevel Scala is a conservative, collaborative and binary compatible fork of Lightbend Scala. The intention is for it to provide early access to bug fixes and enhancements of the Scala toolchain which are of particular interest to projects which use the “Typelevel style” — extensive use of type classes, generic programming and exploitation of the distinctive features of Scala’s type system such as higher-kinded, dependent and singleton types.

Relationship with Lightbend Scala

Typelevel Scala releases will be made in lockstep with Lightbend Scala and will by default generate code which is binary compatible with code generated by Lightbend Scala. Code generated with Typelevel Scala can be freely linked against binary dependencies generated with Lightbend Scala and vice versa. This allows Typelevel Scala features and fixes to be used with minimal risk.

The policy for inclusion of a fix or a feature in a Typelevel Scala release is as follows,

  • It must be first submitted as a pull request to the corresponding version of Lightbend Scala.
  • It must have a reasonable likelihood of being merged in a future Lightbend Scala release.
  • It must offer a significant fix or feature for which there is no reasonable alternative or workaround.
  • It must maintain binary compatibility with Lightbend Scala unless a binary change is the primary motivation for the addition.

The aim of this policy is to keep Typelevel Scala as close as possible to Lightbend Scala whilst still providing significant benefits to people who are affected by the issues it addresses. The requirement that all changes exist as a pull request against Lightbend Scala first and have a reasonable chance of being merged in a future Lightbend Scala release is intended to encourage collaboration and convergence between Typelevel and Lightbend Scala contributors.

Apart from the first criterion there is room for interpretation — after all, what counts as “reasonable”? Where the letter of the policy is unclear we appeal to its spirit — we want access to these features and fixes in our projects now and for that to be feasible it is essential that we maintain the greatest possible degree of binary interoperability with the rest of the Scala ecosystem.

Typelevel Scala releases

Typelevel Scala releases are distinguished from the corresponding Lightbend Scala releases by a version number suffix which indicates the Typelevel feature level beyond the baseline compiler. We are attempting to maintain parity of Typelevel features across the Scala compiler versions we support.

The current Typelevel feature level is 4 and it is avaliable as a drop in replacement for Lightbend Scala 2.11.11 and 2.12.2. Full release notes are available,

Support for Scala 2.13.0-M1 will be added in due course. Support for Scala 2.10.6 will be considered if sponsors step forward to support the necessary work.

Should I use Typelevel Scala? In production?

The baseline for Typelevel Scala is the corresponding version of Lightbend Scala. Every bugfix or feature addition to Typelevel Scala exists as a pull request against that Lightbend Scala version, so will have been passed by the full Scala toolchain test suite and, in most cases, will have been reviewed by the Lightbend Scala compiler team.

If you are affected by one of the bugs which Typelevel Scala addresses then you will have to weigh the risks and costs of using a compiler with the bug (perhaps with workarounds using unnecessarily complex encodings, macros or compiler plugins), against the risks and costs of using an alternative Scala distribution which fixes that bug. Only you can make that call. The same considerations apply to the additional features that Typelevel Scala supports.

More generally there are many reasons why you might want to use and contribute to Typelevel Scala,

  • You want to evaluate or contribute to a feature or fix.
  • You want to explore how new language features interact with existing libraries.
  • You want to explore new library designs enabled by new language features.
  • You want to propose new language features motiviated by your experiences with library design.
  • You want to contribute a feature or fix to Lightbend/Typelevel Scala and want to evaluate its interactions with other pending features and fixes.

Within the Typelevel family of projects we are particularly excited by the prospect of being able to coevolve libraries along with the language and believe that this is one of the best ways to keep the language fresh and relevant to practitioners.

Try Typelevel Scala with an Ammonite instant REPL

The quickest way to get to a Typelevel Scala 2.12.2 REPL path is to run the provided “try Typelevel Scala” script, which has no dependencies other than an installed JDK. This script downloads and installs coursier and uses it to fetch the Ammonite REPL and Typelevel Scala 2.12.2. It then drops you immediately into a REPL session,

% curl -s | bash
Welcome to the Ammonite Repl 0.8.4
(Scala 2.12.2-bin-typelevel-4 Java 1.8.0_131)
If you like Ammonite, please support our development at
@ repl.compiler.settings.YliteralTypes.value = true

@ trait Cond[T] { type V ; val value: V }
defined trait Cond
@ implicit val condTrue = new Cond[true] { type V = String ; val value = "foo" }
condTrue: AnyRef with Cond[true]{type V = String} = $sess.cmd2$$anon$1@4fef2259
@ implicit val condFalse = new Cond[false] { type V = Int ; val value = 23 }
condFalse: AnyRef with Cond[false]{type V = Int} = $sess.cmd3$$anon$1@463887f6
@ def cond[T](implicit cond: Cond[T]): cond.V = cond.value
defined function cond
@ cond[true] : String
res5: String = "foo"
@ cond[false] : Int
res6: Int = 23
@ Bye!

How to use Typelevel Scala 4 with SBT

Requirements for using Typelevel Scala in your existing projects,

  • You must be using Lightbend Scala 2.12.2 or 2.11.11.
  • You must be using SBT 0.13.13 or later.
  • Your build should use scalaOrganization.value and CrossVersion.patch appropriately.

    You can find many examples linked to from this issue.

  • (Optional) Your build should scope scalaVersion to ThisBuild.

    You can find an example in the shapeless build,

      organization := "com.chuusai",
      scalaVersion := "2.12.2",
      crossScalaVersions := Seq("2.10.6", "2.11.8", "2.12.2", "2.13.0-M1")

You can now temporarily build with Typelevel Scala by entering,

> ; set every scalaOrganization := "org.typelevel" ; ++2.12.2-bin-typelevel-4

on the SBT REPL.

To switch your project permanently to Typelevel Scala 4 update your build.sbt as follows,

  scalaOrganization := "org.typelevel",
  scalaVersion := "2.12.2-bin-typelevel-4"

Alternatively, if you want to try Typelevel Scala without modifying your build.sbt and you have scoped scalaVersion as shown earlier you can instead create a file local.sbt at the root of your project with the following content,

  scalaOrganization := "org.typelevel",
  scalaVersion      := "2.11.11-bin-typelevel-4"

These settings will override the ThisBuild scoped settings in your build.sbt.

Whichever method you choose, your build should now function as before but using the Typelevel Scala toolchain instead of the Lightbend one. You can verify that the settings have been updated correctly from the SBT prompt using show,

> show scalaOrganization
[info] org.typelevel
> show scalaVersion
[info] 2.12.2-bin-typelevel-4

How to use Typelevel Scala 4 with Maven

If you are using maven with the scala-maven-plugin, set the <scalaOrganization> to org.typelevel,



The following are high priority issues for Typelevel projects on which progress is likely to be made in 2017,

  • Partial type application
  • Multiple implicit parameter blocks
  • Improved compile times for inductive implicitsDone
  • Improved control over implicit prioritization
  • Improved error reporting for implicit resolution failuresDone
  • GADT and singleton type bugfixes.
  • Literal syntax for Byte and Short types.
  • Support for alternative scala.PredefDone

In accordance with the policy for inclusion contributions on these issues will be made as pull requests against Lightbend Scala in the first instance.

How to contribute to Typelevel Scala

Because of our policy of “pull request against Lightbend Scala first” the primary route to contributing to Typelevel Scala is by contributing to Lightbend Scala. The Lightbend Scala team have made huge advances in lowering the barrier to participation in compiler development recently, in large part due to a new SBT-based build, and helpful documentation — the Scala distribution is now an SBT project which you can expect to work on in much the same way as any other github hosted FLOSS Scala project. Miles Sabin has provided a write up (now slightly outdated) of the process here.

Because a pull request against scala/scala is the first step, to contribute you will need to sign the Scala CLA and be willing to make your contributions under the Scala License. Typelevel is strongly in favour of the currently Scala license/CLA (which requires contributors to grant a patent license but does not grant one in return) being replaced by the Apache 2.0 license and ICLA (which both requires and grants a patent license) as soon as is feasible. If you would like to contribute but are unable to sign the CLA please raise this issue on the Lightbend and Typelevel gitter channels.


Topics specific to Typelevel Scala are discussed on its gitter channel. Scala compiler development is discussed on the scala/contributors gitter channel.

People are expected to follow the Typelevel Code of Conduct when discussing Typelevel Scala on the Github page, Gitter channel, or other venues.

We hope that our community will be respectful, helpful, and kind. If you find yourself embroiled in a situation that becomes heated, or that fails to live up to our expectations, you should disengage and contact one of the project maintainers in private. We hope to avoid letting minor aggressions and misunderstandings escalate into larger problems.

If you are being harassed, please contact one of us immediately so that we can support you.


The current maintainers (people who can merge pull requests) are: