This article talks about the design values of the system and communicates the flavour of what a Smalltalkish Lisp would have been like.
As someone who's only read about this, I'd be interested in hearing from people who actually used it.
More intriguingly - and again, analogous to Smalltalk - Interlisp is more than just another Lisp dialect: it's a complete operating system running atop a Lisp VM, with Lisp as the system language, from top to bottom. Awesome!
By today's standards, it's clunky (as one would expect), but if development had continued, I suspect the comparison to Symbolics Genera would be the analog of comparing a GUI desktop environment to a console-based one. Considering the richness of modern environments (have you seen Pharo or Squeak?), that could've been a seriously cool Lisp development platform...
Incidentally, ParEdit is based on Interlisp's SEdit (in Taylor Campbell's words, 'a real structure editor, not a cheesy imitation like paredit').
Huh? The MIT-class Lisp Machines also had GUIs from the beginning. Clunky by modern standards, as you say, but definitely graphical.
Maybe I just don't get what analogy you're trying to draw.
Interlisp-D went against the grain of most other Lisp implementations at the time:
* Byte-coded implementation interpreted in micro-code, for very compact compiled code (vs. RISC machines' larger, faster code)
* Tuned for interactive performance (vs. tuned for Gabriel benchmark performance)
* Managed code and structure editing (vs. text files and emacs)
In late 1988, Xerox tried to spin the Lisp/AI business out into a separate company named enVos. Envos crashed almost immediately:
Medley, the last release from enVos, hung on as a commercial product from Venue:
This gives the impression what they had in 1971:
Now however, I prefer IntelliJ for Clojure and Java, and the similar IDE RubyMine for Ruby development. I think very good IDEs are a spiritual successor to the wonderful programming environment if my 1108.
An emulator exists, that runs on various *nix systems. It used to be available for noncommercial use under here http://www2.parc.com/isl/groups/nltt/medley/ but the links seem dead.