Nightshade is a runtime environment for a Lisp programming language.


Nightshade is derived from CMUCL. The runtime requires an underlying Unix-like operating system. The human interface to the runtime centers around an extended text editor.

Nightshade is entirely Free Software. Nightshade is most probably also entirely in the public domain. The primary goal of this project is an entirely public domain system.

Nightshade Lisp is a full programming language with a native compiler. The runtime provides for quick, dynamic programming, like evaluating variables and expressions at run time. Most of the system is coded in Lisp, with some C at the lower levels.

The extended editor is an Emacs-like programmer's editor with various features for programming and text editing. The editor includes extensions for everyday tasks such as file management, email, netnews and IRC.

Version 1c introduced 32 bit x86 binaries for GNU/Linux systems. Please take care when using these as the system is still very shaky. Stability should improve as test coverage improves. Some documentation still refers to CMUCL, and is being updated gradually.

For running in a terminal or terminal emulator, the editor requires a termcap file, such as this one (more on this). The X Windows version of the editor is just barely running.


Contents, Introduction, Installation, Command Line Options, Support


  • GNU/Linux terminal emulator: 2 1 older: 6 5 4 3 2 1
  • GNU/Linux under X Windows: 3 2 1
  • Native under an emulator: 1 (It's a start!)

Latest release: 1h

  • Changes since version 1g:
    • Improve stability of the XLib interface.
    • Improve reader eof-errorp behaviour.
    • Add POST, logging and dynamic generation to the HTTP service.
    • Add a simple local delivery SMTP service.
    • In the editor:
      • Add a ChangeLog mode.
      • Add authentication to Netnews.
      • Add a clock and a colour browser.
      • Update the MH interface to add sender details to the contacts db.
      • Rename the Info system to Doc and the GNU Info system to Info.
      • Add manpage, menu, Doc and Info highlighting.
      • Hack together some sketchy UTF-8 support.
      • Add two window sizing commands.
  • Released 1 May 2009
  • Download
    • GNU/Linux x86 (32 bit): tarball or Debian Etch package
      • both built on Linux (Debian 2.6.24-etchnhalf.1-486) with GCC (Debian 3.4.6-5)
      • both include source and binary
  • Example editor configuration

Previous releases

0.0 to 1g

Public domain

Details of how and why Nightshade has been derived from CMUCL.