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Lisp (LISt Processing language) was first developed in the late 1950s
at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for research in artificial
intelligence. The great power of the Lisp language makes it superior
for other purposes as well, such as writing editing commands.
Dozens of Lisp implementations have been built over the years, each
with its own idiosyncrasies. Many of them were inspired by Maclisp,
which was written in the 1960's at MIT's Project MAC. Eventually the
implementors of the descendents of Maclisp came together and developed a
standard for Lisp systems, called Common Lisp.
GNU Emacs Lisp is largely inspired by Maclisp, and a little by Common
Lisp. If you know Common Lisp, you will notice many similarities.
However, many of the features of Common Lisp have been omitted or
simplified in order to reduce the memory requirements of GNU Emacs.
Sometimes the simplifications are so drastic that a Common Lisp user
might be very confused. We will occasionally point out how GNU Emacs
Lisp differs from Common Lisp. If you don't know Common Lisp, don't
worry about it; this manual is self-contained.
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