The project was initiated in 1994 by the French researcher Dominique Colnet. The compiler was then called SmallEiffel, in reference to the Smalltalk language. In 1995, the compiler was able to compile itself for the first time. In 1998, on the occasion of a visit to LORIA by Richard Stallman, the project became part of the GNU Project. In December 2002, the project was renamed SmartEiffel and reached version 1.0. In September 2004, SmartEiffel reached version 2.0.
In May 2005, after divergences with the working group for the normalization of the Eiffel language, the SmartEiffel project announced that they would not implement the ECMA TC39-TG4 norm.