Steel Bank Common Lisp

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File:SBCL screenshot.png
Original author(s) Forked by William Newman from CMUCL
Developer(s) Various
Initial release December 1999 (fork)
Stable release 1.0.34 / 31 December 2009
Operating system Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows
Platform Cross-platform
Available in Common Lisp
Type Compiler and runtime
License Public Domain, with parts covered by the MIT License and BSD License (sans advertising clause)

Steel Bank Common Lisp (SBCL) is a free Common Lisp implementation that features a high performance native compiler, Unicode support and threading.

The name "Steel Bank Common Lisp" is a reference to Carnegie Mellon University Common Lisp from which SBCL forked: Andrew Carnegie made his fortune in the steel industry and Andrew Mellon was a successful banker.


SBCL is descended from CMUCL, which is itself descended from Spice Lisp, including early implementations for the Mach operating system on the IBM RT, and the Three Rivers Computing Corporation PERQ computer, in the 1980s.

William Newman originally announced SBCL as a variant of CMUCL in December 1999.[1] The main point of divergence at the time was a clean bootstrapping procedure: CMUCL requires an already compiled executable binary of itself in order to compile the CMUCL source code, whereas SBCL supported bootstrapping from - theoretically - any ANSI-compliant Common Lisp implementation.

SBCL became a project on its own right in late 2000. The original rationale for the fork was to continue the initial work done by Newman without destabilizing CMUCL which was at the time already a mature and much used implementation. The forking was amicable, and there has since then been significant flows of code and other cross-pollination between the two projects.

Since then SBCL has attracted several developers, been ported to multiple hardware architectures and operating systems, and undergone many changes and enhancements: while it has dropped support for several CMUCL extensions that it considers beyond the scope of the project (such as the Motif interface) it has also developed many new ones, including native threading and Unicode support.

Version 1.0 was released in November 2006, and active development continues.

William Newman stepped down as project administrator for SBCL in April 2008.[2] Several other developers have taken over interim management of releases for the time being.[3]

For the tenth anniversary of SBCL an Workshop has been organized[4].


  1. original email announcement of the fork from CMUCL
  2. Mail from William Newman where he announces his resignation
  3. Mail from Christophe Rhodes describing the interim SBCL management
  4. SBCL's 10th Anniversary Workshop

External links

it:Steel Bank Common Lisp ru:Steel Bank Common Lisp uk:Steel Bank Common Lisp

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