Lispbox is designed to given you everything you need to get up and running, hacking Common Lisp, in one easy-to-install download. However you do need to pick the right version of Lispbox for the OS you are using and the Common Lisp implementation you want to try. However you can also download individual Common Lisp implementations in Lispbox-ready form to add to an existing Lispbox installation so the choice of Lisp implementation you start with doesn't matter a great deal.
Note on choosing a Lisp implementation. All of the Lisp implementations available here are high-quality implementations that can be used for learning Lisp and for writing real applications. However if you want to be able to run all the practical examples from Practical Common Lisp the easiest path is to use Allegro since it supports both Unicode and threads and has AllegroServe built in. CLISP has excellent Unicode support but no threads. SBCL added Unicode in version 0.8.17 but there are still, as of this writing, a few wrinkles to work out. And it supports threads only on GNU/Linux 2.6 systems running on x86. OpenMCL supports native threads but not Unicode. The ID3 parser developed in Chapter 25 works best in Lisps that support Unicode but will work fine in non-Unicode Lisps as long as none of the MP3 files you want to parse contain Unicode strings. And the Shoutcast server developed in Chapters 28 and 29 requires an implementation that supports multiple threads.
|OS X (10.4)||GNU/Linux x86||Windows|
|Allegro (get license)||7.0||6.2||not yet available|
To choose the appropriate Lisbox pick the operating system you are running on and the Common Lisp implementation you want to try. The numbers in the table's cells are the version of the Lisp implementation. If you choose Allegro you will need to get a free licence from Franz's web site; click on get license to go to the Franz web site. Lispbox will help you install the license the first time you run it.