lychee was born out of a personal need. Matthias, the original author, maintains a repository for static code analysis tools on Github. The links to the tools regularly broke, so he decided to add a link checker to the repo, to get notified. Unfortunately the existing solutions were either too slow, deprecated, or were lacking functionality. So he decided to write a link checker himself — how hard could it be?
A few years later, he reached a point where 10% of the functionality works most of the time and the result is called lychee.
The name lychee is a play on link checker. Originally we wanted to call it liche, but that name was already used by a link checker written in Go (which has since been deprecated).