One long term project I have is working through all the exercises of SICP. I noticed something a bit odd with the most recent exercise. I am testing a Huffman encoding tree. When I execute the following code in DrScheme I get the expected result:

(a d a b b c a)

However, if I execute this same code in mzscheme by calling (load "2.67.scm") or by running mzscheme -f 2.67.scm, it reports:

symbols: expected symbols as arguments, given: (leaf D 1)

My question is: why? Is it because mzscheme and drscheme use different rules for loading program definitions? The program code is below.

;; Define an encoding tree and a sample message
;; Use the decode procedure to decode the message, and give the result. 

(define (make-leaf symbol weight)
  (list 'leaf symbol weight))
(define (leaf? object)
  (eq? (car object) 'leaf))
(define (symbol-leaf x) (cadr x))
(define (weight-leaf x) (caddr x))

(define (make-code-tree left right)
  (list left
        (append (symbols left) (symbols right))
        (+ (weight left) (weight right))))

(define (left-branch tree) (car tree))
(define (right-branch tree) (cadr tree))

(define (symbols tree)
  (if (leaf? tree)
      (list (symbol-leaf tree))
      (caddr tree)))
(define (weight tree)
  (if (leaf? tree)
      (weight-leaf tree)
      (cadddr tree)))

(define (decode bits tree)
  (define (decode-1 bits current-branch)
    (if (null? bits)
        (let ((next-branch
               (choose-branch (car bits) current-branch)))
          (if (leaf? next-branch)
              (cons (symbol-leaf next-branch)
                    (decode-1 (cdr bits) tree))
              (decode-1 (cdr bits) next-branch)))))
  (decode-1 bits tree))
(define (choose-branch bit branch)
  (cond ((= bit 0) (left-branch branch))
        ((= bit 1) (right-branch branch))
        (else (error "bad bit -- CHOOSE-BRANCH" bit))))

(define (test s-exp)
  (display s-exp)

(define sample-tree
  (make-code-tree (make-leaf 'A 4)
                   (make-leaf 'B 2)
                   (make-code-tree (make-leaf 'D 1)
                                   (make-leaf 'C 1)))))

(define sample-message '(0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 0))

(test (decode sample-message sample-tree))
+5  A: 

By default, MzScheme starts in a mode where there is an existing definition for symbols, and it inlines functions that it knows about -- so when it compiles your make-code-tree definition, it uses the binding it knows about. When it later compiles your symbols, it doesn't have an effect on the previous definition.

The easiest way to deal with this is to make your code into a module, by prefixing it with a #lang scheme.