Gareth McCaughan's Road to Lisp
I, Gareth McCaughan, 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'm not sure what "seriously" means. I first encountered Lisp in my early teenage years (which would be about 20 years ago now), but that was largely the sort of academic "define a recursive function to do such-and-such" thing that's generally frowned upon in modern Lisp pedagogy :-).

The first substantial body of code I wrote in a Lisp-like language would have been something like 5 or 6 years later; I was a first-year university student and did some vacation work for an outfit that had a home-grown Lispy language with a thin veneer of Algol-like syntax on the top, plus some neat pattern-matching features. I taught it to do symbolic integration and some other such things. I can't remember why they wanted it, now.

That was the only Lispy work I ever got paid for. My preferred variety of Lisp these days is Common Lisp; has been ever since I picked up a copy of CLTL2 about 8 years ago. Actually, I do use it occasionally at work, when I don't think anyone else will notice or when I really need its power for something.

What led you to try Lisp?

It was fun.

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?

That wasn't what led me to Lisp.

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

I'd describe myself as a pretty competent CL programmer. My main weakness is a corollary of the fact that I write Lisp almost exclusively for fun: I don't do enough of it to keep everything swapped in.

What do you think of Lisp so far?

It's the most powerful programming language there is.

Switch Date 1980s RtL Language Curiosity RtL Work