Damien Sullivan's Road to Lisp
I, Damien Sullivan, do solemnly offer these my responses to The Road to Lisp Survey:

When did you first try Lisp seriously, and which Lisp family member was it?

Summer of 2003. Chez Scheme, soon followed by Common Lisp.

What led you to try Lisp?

I'm a grad student at Indiana University, so you might think Friedman would suck me in. But I haven't taken that course yet. The real cause is that I'm a student of Douglas Hofstadter's, and most of the lab's programs have been written in Common Lisp or Chez Scheme. In particular Jim Marshall's Metacat, which I wish to extend, is in Chez Scheme. So I had to learn the stuff. Then, since I became dissatisfied with the various Scheme implementations I started looking at Common Lisp.

I've also read Paul Graham's stuff, but that wasn't the primary cause.

Where did your road originate?

The languages I've learned, in order: BASIC, Pascal, C, Perl, C++, Haskell, O'Caml. I use "learned" loosely for the last two.

How far have you gotten in your study of Lisp?

I've read a lot, and have written teeny programs.

What do you think of Lisp so far?

At some levels really nice. I'm taken by the idea of a language being its own metalanguage and scripting language, and macros, and such. On the other hand my software engineering instincts still cry out for compile-time type-checking, and worry about efficiency -- I know good Lisp is supposed to be pretty good, but I want to see it myself. In terms of what I know, my instinctive ideal would probably still be O'Caml's attitude and tools maturity with something like Haskell's syntax and type classes and the libraries of Java or any of the scripting languages.

RtL Douglas Hofstadter | RtL AI | Switch Date 2003