By Guy L. Steele Jr., Richard P. Gabriel
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Additional info for [Article] The Evolution of Lisp
This was possible because Lucid traded on the strength of the names of its founders and the fact that it was writing a Common Lisp from scratch and would, therefore, be the ﬁrst true Common Lisp. Eventually Lucid ported its Lisp and established OEM arrangements with IBM, DEC, and HP. Though the royalties were relatively small per copy, the OEM route established Lucid as the Gabriel and Steele, Evolution of Lisp 31 primary stock-hardware Lisp company. Because the hardware companies were enthusiastic about the business opportunities for AI and Lisp, they invested a lot in the business.
At the same time “AI winter” hit and Gold Hill was not able to survive at the level it once had. It was abandoned by its venture capitalists, laid oﬀ just about all its employees, and continues today as a two-man operation. Gold Hill sold direct as well. “AI winter” is the term ﬁrst used in 1988 to describe the unfortunate commercial fate of AI. From the late 1970’s and until the mid-1980’s, artiﬁcial intelligence was an important part of the computer business—many companies were started with the then-abundant venture capital available for high-tech start-ups.
When he returned, it was close enough to Common Lisp that Hewitt and Barber thought they could capitalize on the wave of Common interest by selling the existing Lisp as a Lisp about to become Common Lisp. Because the PC was believed to be an important machine for AI, it seemed to be an ironclad business plan, in which a variety of glamorous East-coast venture capitalists invested. Gold Hill’s Lisp was not a Common Lisp and in the early years the company endured some criticism for false advertising, but as the Lisp was transformed into a Common Lisp, its quality apparently dropped.