Erik Winkels's Road to Lisp
I, Erik Winkels, 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?

Seriously, I started learning Lisp in about 1998-1999. This was Common Lisp.

Less seriously, I tried it for a few hours on my Atari ST in 1987 when I lend a public domain disk at a local computer store. What family this Lisp was from, I have no idea.

What led you to try Lisp?

When I came across Stephen Slade's "Object-Oriented Common Lisp" (see Lisp books) in a second-hand bookstore. That, combined with coming across Erik Naggum's postings to comp.lang.lisp almost everytime I searched for a solution to a programming problem on DejaNews / Google made me decide to buy the book and check the language out.

Having read good things about the language in the years before might also have been a deciding factor.

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 had been unhappy with every programming language I tried when I took the step from M68000 assembler to other languages. Every language I tried after M68000 made me think[1] "this is not the way programming should be". Languages I tried that come to mind now are: C, C++, Java, Perl and uhmmm.. God, my memory's bad today. There were a lot more.

How far have you gotten in your study of Lisp? (I know, that is hard to measure)

Not very far actually. While being a hardcore nerd the earlier years of my life, I've been trying to get away from that the last few years. So, progress is slow but certain.

I'm still very much a beginner though.

What do you think of Lisp so far?

I only have experience with Common Lisp, but I like it. The translation from concepts and ideas in my head to Lisp code is almost a direct flow, only occasionally interrupted. Unlike most other programming languages where I always feel like I'm struggling with the language to get it to do the things I want to do.

I use it for almost all personal projects and I'm looking for ways to use it in my work as software engineer.

Still, why I do know the history behind Common Lisp, some of the warts (like inconsistency in the calling arguments of some functions and macros) do bother me. Just something one has to live with I guess, until a better Lisp comes along. (Not that I see one coming at the moment!)

That's it,


[1] This feeling ("this is not the way computing should be") was not unlike the step from my Atari ST and Amiga to a DOS PC. I just didn't program for a few years because the architecture of DOS & Intel were so braindead. "64kb memory blocks, WTF?!"

(Had I just known about DOS4GW!)

Switch Date 1990s RtL Stephen Slade RtL Erik Naggum