Lucid Inc.

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Lucid Inc.
IndustrySoftware industry
Founded1984; 40 years ago (1984)
Defunct1994; 30 years ago (1994)
FateBankruptcy (1994)
HeadquartersMenlo Park, California
Key people
Richard P. Gabriel, Scott Fahlman, Rodney Brooks
ProductsLucid Common Lisp, Energize, Lucid Emacs

Lucid Incorporated was a Menlo Park, California-based computer software development company. Founded by Richard P. Gabriel[1] in 1984, it went bankrupt in 1994.


The first CEO was Tony Slocum, formerly of IntelliCorp; and Gabriel was Lucid's Chief Technical Officer (CTO) and first president.

Initial success[edit]

The product the company ultimately shipped was an integrated Lisp IDE for Sun Microsystems' RISC hardware architecture—this sidestepped the principal failure of Lisp machines by in essence rewriting a lesser version of the Lisp machine IDE for use on a more cost-effective and less moribund architecture. In 1987, Gabriel resigned as President, but remained its CTO.


Eventually Lucid's focus shifted (during the AI Winter) from the Lisp market (which was still growing at this time) to an object-oriented IDE for C++ called "Energize". A core component of the IDE was Richard Stallman's version of Emacs, GNU Emacs. GNU Emacs was not suitable for Lucid's needs, however, and several Lucid programmers (including Jamie W. Zawinski) were assigned to help develop GNU Emacs to meet those needs. Friction arose between the programmers and Stallman, and Lucid forked the software—thus they were primarily responsible for the birth of XEmacs.[2]

By 1994, Lucid's attempts to reinvent itself as a C++ company, and its neglect of its still profitable Lisp sideline had ended in failure, and the company's revenues fell to levels which could not sustain it. Lucid Incorporated went bankrupt.[citation needed] The rights to Lucid Common Lisp were sold to Harlequin Ltd. which was bought in 1999 by Global Graphics; Global Graphics then sold the rights to Xanalys Corporation, which spun off LispWorks, the current rights holder which sells Lucid Common Lisp under the "Liquid Common Lisp"[3] label.


  1. ^ Steele, Guy L.; Gabriel, Richard P. (1996), Bergin, Thomas J.; Gibson, Richard G. (eds.), "The evolution of Lisp", History of programming languages---II, New York, NY, USA: ACM, pp. 233–330, doi:10.1145/234286.1057818, ISBN 978-0-201-89502-5, retrieved 2023-05-02
  2. ^ Zawinski, Jamie (2000). "The Lemacs/FSFmacs Schism". Archived from the original on 2009-11-30. Retrieved 2009-12-12.
  3. ^ "Liquid Common Lisp". Retrieved 2013-06-10.

External links[edit]