Free Common Lisp Compilers / Interpreters

Free ANSI Common Lisp development systems

Free Common Lisp Compilers, Interpreters, Development Systems

Common Lisp is a general purpose, dynamic programming language that supports procedural, functional, and object-oriented programming paradigms. The interpreters, compilers and development systems listed below follow the ANSI Common Lisp specification.

For those looking for documentation, Guy Steele's Common LISP: The Language, 2nd edition, now out of print, is available online for free. Note that it is more of a reference book than a tutorial. If you are prefer a hardcopy book, Practical Common Lisp by Peter Seibel, seems to be well-liked by many.

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Free Common Lisp Interpreters and Compilers

Corman Lisp New

Corman Lisp comprises a Common Lisp native code compiler, an assembler, a disassembler, incremental linker and text editor for Windows. This is open source software, released under the MIT licence. The above link points to the source code and main page. The downloadable executables can be found here.

Clozure Common Lisp

Clozure CL implements the ANSI Common Lisp standard with some extensions. It compiles to native code, supports multithreading using native OS threads, a foreign-function interface (where your Lisp code can call external code and vice versa), Unicode, SLIME integration, memory-mapped files, thread-local hash tables and streams, etc. You can also create standalone executables (where the Lisp kernel is prepended to your Lisp image file and it automatically runs your image when executed). Binaries are available for Mac OS X, Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris and Windows. This is open source software, released under the Apache License.


Poplog is a software development system that includes incremental compilers for Pop11 (a Lisp-like language with more conventional syntax), Common Lisp (compatible with CLTL2 - Common LISP: The Language, 2nd edition), Prolog (compatible with the Edinburgh definition), and Standard ML. It comes with documentation, program libraries, and teaching materials for AI and Cognitive Science. Source code for the system (as well as example code such as the source code for the famous AI program, Eliza) is included. Supported platforms include Windows, Linux, Solaris on Sparc, Solaris on Intel, Digital Unix on Alpha, AIX on PowerPCs.

CMU Common Lisp Compiler

CMU Common Lisp conforms to the ANSI Common Lisp standard and runs on "most Unix platforms". It has a native-code compiler, generational garbage collection, multiprocessing capability on x86 ports, ability to interface with C source code/libraries, shared libraries, ability to directly make Unix system calls, support for interprocess communication and remote procedure calls, implements the Common Lisp Object System (CLOS) (with multimethods and a metaobject protocol), has a graphical source level debugger, etc. The source code is put in the public domain (according to the website).

Steel Bank Common Lisp

Steel Bank Common Lisp provides a compiler and runtime system for ANSI Common Lisp, a debugger, a statistical profiler, and a code coverage tool. The language includes some extensions to the ANSI Common Lisp standard, including garbage collection, a metaobject protocol, support for dealing with Unix-type operating systems (such as to get the command line passed to the program, obtain environment variables, and run other processes), etc. Platforms supported include Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD and Solaris.

LispWorks (Warning: Crippleware)

The Personal Edition of this Common Lisp implementation comes with an IDE, and is free crippleware (among other limitations, it will terminate your application after 5 hours). You can get Linux as well Windows versions for this compiler.


A Common Lisp implementation (compiler and interpreter) that supports the ANSI standard and the Lisp descibed in "Common Lisp: The Language (2nd edition)". It is released under the GNU General Public License and supports MSDOS, OS/2, Windows NT/95/98, Amiga 500-4000, Acorn RISC PC, Linux and other Unices.

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