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This repository is for the Lisp environment of Medley Interlisp.

See the Documentation links for an overview and pointers to documentation. In particular Running explains other methods of getting Medley Interlisp.

Interlisp/maiko, is the repo for the implementation (in C) of the Medley virtual machine.

Using releases

There currently are separate releases of medley and maiko; get the latest version of each.

Getting releases

Get the Maiko release here. You'll need the .tgz file corresponding to your operating system and processor (for Windows with WSL or Intel Linux, use linux.x86_64; for Macs use darwin.x86_64 for Intel and darwin.aarch64 for M1.)

Or, build your own maiko (the binaries lde ldex and ldeinit) We can build for other OS arch pairs depending on what is available for GitHub actions.

The medley release comes in two parts, found here

  1. The "loadups" (download medley-YYMMDD-loadups.tgz)
  2. The "runtime" (download medley-YYMMDD-runtime.tgz)

You don't need the "runtime" if you've cloned this (medley) repo, but you'll still need the "loadups" release.

If you happen to have the 'gh' GitHub command line installed you can download both using

   gh release download -R Interlisp/medley -p "*"

but otherwise just click on the link(s) below to the parts you need.

Unpacking releases

From a shell/terminal window:

  1. Choose where you want to install medley and maiko. Unpack the medley loadups file
  • cd parent
  • tar xvzf medley-YYMMDD-loadups.tgz
  1. Unpack the medley runtime OR clone the Medley repo (the "medley runtime" is just a subset of the whole repo)
  • tar xvzf medley-YYMMDD-runtime.tgz


    git clone
  1. Unpack the maiko file for your operating system and CPU type, e.g.,

    tar xvzf maiko-210823.linux.x86_64.tgz
  2. This should leave you with two directories, medley and maiko.

Setting up X

Medley Interlisp currently needs an X-Server to manage its display. Most Linux desktops have one. Windows 11 with WSL includes an X-Server. For Windows 10 with WSL2, there are a number of open-source X servers; for example vcxsrv.

Mac users should get XQuartz from

Medley manages the display entirely, doesn't use X fonts and manages it's own window system.

If you have a high-resolution display, note that much of the graphics was designed for a low-resolution display, so an X-server that does "pixel doublilng" is best. (E.g., Raspberry Pi does pixel doubling on 4K displays.) It also presumes you have a 3-button mouse; the scroll-wheel on some mice act as one with some difficulty.) XQuartz Preferences/Input has "Emulate three button mouse" option.

Running Medley Interlisp

The run-medley script in this repo sets up some convenient defaults. Running Medley can be done by typing:

$ cd medley
$ ./run-medley

Or, if you wish to start Medley up with a different SYSOUT:

$ cd medley
$ ./run-medley <SYSOUT-file-name>

The first time the system is run it loads the system image that comes with the system. When you exit the system (or "do a SaveVM" menu option) the state of your machine is saved in a file named ~/lisp.virtualmem. Subsequent system startups load the ~/lisp.virtualmem image by default.

Exiting The System

The system may be exited from the Interlisp prompt by typing:


Or from the Common Lisp prompt with:


When you log out of the system, Medley automatically creates a binary dump of your system located in your home directory named lisp.virtualmem. The next time you run the system, if you don't specify a specific image to run, Medley restores that image so that you can continue right where you left off.

Naming conventions and directory structure

File Names and Extensions: Most Interlisp source file names are UPPERCASE and Interlisp didn't use file extensions for its source files. A .TEDIT or .TXT file is probably documentation for the package of same name, at least in the library, lispusers.

The current repo has both Lisp sources and compiled .LCOM and .DFASL files.

Each directory should have a, but briefly

  • -- instructions on how to make your own loadups
  • clos -- early implementation of Common Lisp Object System
  • CLTL2 -- files submitted to bring Medley up to the conformance to "Common Lisp, the Language" 2nd edition. Not enough to conform to the ANSII standard lisp.
  • Dockerfile -- used when building Docker containers with Medley
  • docs -- Documentation files (in TEdit format PDFs or online help; look here
  • fonts -- raster fonts (or font widths) in various resolutions for display, postscript, interpress, press formats
  • greetfiles -- various configuration setups
  • internal -- These were internal to Venue
  • library -- packages that were supported (30 years ago)
  • lispusers -- User contributed packages that were only half supported (ditto)
  • loadups -- has sysouts and other builds plus a few remnants
  • obsolete -- files we should remove from the repo
  • rooms -- implementation of ROOMS window/desktop manager
  • run-medley -- script to enhance the options of running medley
  • scripts -- some scripts for fixing up things
  • sources -- sources for Interlisp and Common Lisp implementations
  • unicode -- data files for support of XCCS to and from Unicode mappings

plus Dockerfile, and scripts for building and running medley tmp directory for use during build processes