When did you first try Lisp (meaning here and throughout the survey "any member of the Lisp family") seriously, and which Lisp family member was it?
Almost simultaneously, I started six months ago to play with GNU Emacs Lisp, Guile Scheme and Luke Tierney's XLispStat.
What led you to try Lisp?
For several years, I have considered that Lisp syntax was regular and elegant, and that, as a Mathematician, I would love it if I give it a try. But Lisp is quite marginal nowadays. Paul Graham's writings finally decided me.
If you were trying Lisp out of unhappiness with another language, what was that other language and what did you not like about it, or what were you hoping to find different in Lisp?
For my needs, I find confortable programming in C, Perl and especially R. But their syntaxes do not completely convince me. I like Python syntax, but I worry about whitespace being significant
Several compilers generate very fast code, which is very important for me as well.
How far have you gotten in your study of Lisp? (I know, that is hard to measure)
Not far. I'm still trying different flavors, and have a very superficial knowledge of each: Elisp (because Emacs+Viper is my favourite editor; "calc" package), LispStat (because of its statistical features), Guile and S48/Scsh (for GNU and Unix scripting, and TeXmacs interaction), PLT Scheme (learning under Micros~1 Windows), Lush (GNU Scientific Library bindings), librep (Sawfish hacking), GCL (interaction with Maxima).
CMUCL and CLISP seem to be fast for several mathematical aspects, so I'll try them soon.
What do you think of Lisp so far?
I like parenthesized syntax (not always for mathematical formulae). But accessing to elements of arrays and lists is cumbersome. I like Arc, Goo, Lush, Guile-matrix, etc. approaches.
Lisp is too heterogenous in the field I'm interested in: statistics (LispStat uses Xlisp, similar to CL, but with a completely different OO system; R internals are based on Scheme, but there is no bridge between so far); GSL can be accessed with Guile (standard Scheme, but has not all bindings) and Lush (not Scheme nor CL); etc, etc.
I guess that Lisp needs a dialect with a huge collection of libraries. Perhaps CCLAN is the way to go.
Switch Date 2003 RtL Paul Graham