CLISP manual page


clisp - Common Lisp language interpreter and compiler


clisp [ -h ] [ -m memsize ] [ -M memfile ] [ -L language ] [ -q ] [ -I ] [ -i initfile ... ] [ -c [ -l ] lispfile [ -o outputfile ] ... ] [ -p packagename ] [ -x expression ]


Invokes the common lisp interpreter and compiler. Invoked without arguments, executes a read-eval-print loop, in which expressions are in turn read from standard input, evaluated by the lisp interpreter, and their results output to standard output. Invoked with -c, the specified lisp files are compiled to a bytecode that can be executed more efficiently.


Displays a help message on how to use clisp.

-m memsize
Sets the amount of memory clisp tries to grab on startup. The amount may be given as nnnnnnn (measured in bytes), nnnn K or nnnn KB (measured in kilobytes) or n M or n MB (measured in megabytes). Default is 2 megabytes. The argument is constrained between 100 KB and 16 MB. -- This version of clisp allocates memory dynamically. memsize is essentially ignored.

-M memfile
Specifies the initial memory image. This must be a memory dump produced by the saveinitmem function. It may have been compressed using GNU gzip. This option is normally already set by the shell script /usr/local/bin/clisp.

-L language
Specifies the language clisp uses to communicate with the user. This may be english, deutsch, francais.

Quiet: clisp displays no banner at startup and no good-bye message when quitting.

ILISP friendly: clisp interacts in a way that ILISP (a popular Emacs LISP interface) can deal with. Currently the only effect of this is that unnecessary prompts are not suppressed. Furthermore, the GNU readline library treats Tab as a normal self-inserting character.

-i initfile ...
Specifies initialization files to be loaded at startup. These should be lisp files (source or compiled).

-c lispfile ...
Compiles the specified lispfiles to bytecode. The compiled files can then be loaded instead of the sources to gain efficiency.

-o outputfile
Specifies the output file or directory for the compilation of the last specified lispfile.

A bytecode listing of the files being compiled will be produced. Useful only for debugging purposes.

-p packagename
At startup the value of the variable *package* will be set to the package named packagename.

-x expressions
Executes a series of arbitrary expressions instead of a read-eval-print loop. The values of the expressions will be output to standard output. Due to the argument processing done by the shell, the expressions must be enclosed in single quotes, and double quotes and backslashes must be preceded by backslashes.


The language implemented conforms to
Guy L. Steele Jr.: Common Lisp - The Language. Digital Press. 1st edition 1984, 465 pages. ("CLtL1" for short)
and to the older parts of
Guy L. Steele Jr.: Common Lisp - The Language. Digital Press. 2nd edition 1990, 1032 pages. ("CLtL2" for short)


to get some on-line help.

(apropos name)
lists the symbols relating to name.

(exit) or (quit) or (bye)
to quit clisp.

EOF (Ctrl-D)
to leave the current read-eval-print loop.

arrow keys
for editing and viewing the input history.

Tab key
to complete the symbol's name you are just typing.


startup script
main executable

initial memory image

site-dependent configuration

lisp source

lisp code, compiled by clisp

lisp source library information, generated and used by the clisp compiler

C code, compiled from lisp source by clisp


specifies the language clisp uses to communicate with the user. The value may be english, deutsch, francais and defaults to english. The -L option can be used to override this environment variable.

specifies the language clisp uses to communicate with the user, unless it is already specified through the environment variable CLISP_LANGUAGE or the -L option. The value may begin with a two-letter ISO 639 language code, for example en, de, fr.

are used for determining the value of the function user-homedir-pathname. (Unix implementation only.)

SHELL (Unix implementation only)
is used to find the interactive command interpreter called by (shell).

determines the screen size recognized by the pretty printer. This environment variable is also mandatory for the built-in screen editor.

See also

cmulisp(1), emacs(1).




Bruno Haible <> and Michael Stoll.

CLISP manual page
Bruno Haible <>

Last modified: 15 June 1995.