Doug Tolton's Road to LIsp
I, Doug Tolton, do solemnly offer these my responses to The Road to Lisp Survey:

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? I really started looking at lisp seriously around november or december of 2002. I dabbled a little with elisp, but decided that I would rather learn a full fledged implementation of Lisp, so I have been learning ANSI Common Lisp.

What led you to try Lisp? Paul Graham's plan for spam was posted to Slashdot. I was amazed by the simplicity and elegance of his ideas, so I started looking around his site. I read all (or almost all) of the articles he has posted. I was completely fascinated by the prospects of Lisp. So I purchased ANSI Common Lisp by Graham and Lisp by Winston and Horn.

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? I learned to program in Basic, and then moved to Visual Basic for several years. I learned C, C++ and Java, but the companies I worked for were mainly microsoft shops, so I was stuck in VB hell. I moved to asp for a few years, but that was an even more impaired version of VB. When microsoft released the dotnet platform I held some hope that it would redress many of the problems with Visual Basic. When I made the switch, I switched to the cleaner C#, because I was tired of how verbose VB was.
However C# has led to a deep dissatisfaction that had been brewing in me for years, both with microsoft and their design choices.
When I began reading Paul Grahams web site, it was as if I found a ray of hope. Suddenly I was being presented with a programming language that wasn't written for an idiot, rather it was explicitly designed to allow you to take complete advantage of it. I have been addicted to learning about Lisp since them.

How far have you gotten in your study of Lisp? (I know, that is hard to measure) I'm sure I'm still a noob at Lisp. There are so many basic things that I still don't know how to do. However I feel a keen interest to really understand Lisp and how it works at a deep level. Lisp truly has re-awakened the excitement I had about computers when I first entered this field.

What do you think of Lisp so far? I *Love* Lisp. I'm sure it's trite, but it really is quickly becoming my favorite language. I have to use my second favorite language at work (python) because all those parentheses cause my peers to start quivering and twitching. :)

Long Live Lisp

Switch Date 2002 RtL Paul Graham