How to install Common Lisp on Ubuntu Linux?

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Lisp is the second oldest programming language after Fortran, which was developed around 1960 by John McCarthy at MIT. It has various dialects some well-known ones are Common Lisp, Clojure, Scheme, Racket, etc. It has a fully parenthesized prefix notation.

Today in this article I will discuss how to install SBCL (Steel Bank Common Lisp) in Ubuntu. SBCL is a high-performance, free implementation of Common Lisp with Unicode and threading support.


To follow this guide you should have the following –

  • A system running Ubuntu Linux
  • Access to a user account with sudo privileges

Installing SBCL

SBCL package is available in the default Ubuntu repository you can directly install it by using the apt command. But before you install a package make sure the apt package repository is updated –

sudo apt update

Next use the following command to install SBCL –

sudo apt install sbcl

Press y and then enter if it asks for your confirmation.

You can verify the installation by using the given command –

sbcl --version

lisp version

Running the Hello World program in SBCL

Once the installation is successful, use a text editor and create a file with the .lisp extension.

nano hello.list

Here copy and paste the given code.

(write-line "Hello World!")

As you can see in the image below.

lisp hello world program

Save this code by pressing Ctrl+s and exit from the editor by using Ctrl+x.

Now to execute this code by using the given command in your terminal –

sbcl --script hello.lisp

This will display output as given in the image below.

hello world

Using SBCL in interactive mode

To use Steel Bank Common Lisp in interactive mode simply type the given command –


Now you can start writing your code, you can see an example in the given image.


You can exit from the SBCL interpreter by executing the given command –


Now you can find more information on how to use Common Lisp by following its official documentation.


I hope you have successfully installed Steel Bank Common Lisp on your system. Now for any query or suggestion write to us in the comments below.

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