When did you first try Lisp seriously, and which Lisp family member was it?
I first started programming in Interlisp when working on an AI project in the late 70s. After the project ended, I worked for many years on UNIX systems, in C and C++ and occasionally Smalltalk. When one of the recent Java-based startups I worked at started crumbling, Jothy Rosenberg asked a couple of us, "If you could only program in one language for the rest of your life, what would it be?" My immediate answer was Lisp, even though I hadn't looked at it in over a dozen years. That, and Kent Pitman's Slashdot interview, started me researching what had happened to Lisp in the ANSI Common Lisp era. I ready CLtL2 and have been hooked since.
What led you to try Lisp?
I just remembered how powerful it was in graduate school, and how much fun it was to program in because of the power of the language and the libraries.
Where did your road originate?
During the bulk of the 80's and 90's I was working in UNIX with C and C++, writing embedded systems software, UI applications, device drivers, performance analysis tools and so on.
I wrote a kind of "phone home" application for customer service in Smalltalk, which got me back in touch with the more dynamic language world. It was sweet.
After a couple of startup companies that did their development in C, C++, Visual Basic, Java and Python, I decided to get off the merry-go-round and go back to the language I had always loved the most, Lisp.
How far have you gotten in your study of Lisp?
Consider myself a returning newbie; I have lots of programming experience, but don't do much programming in my day job. All recreational programming now is done in Common Lisp, using Allegro and emacs. I'm still struggling to be as fluid in Lisp as I used to be in C and C++. But I don't care. I ain't going back.
What do you think of Lisp so far? The Most Powerful Programming Language Known to Man (TM). I'm amazed at how many of the features of CL are just now appearing in more "modern" languages.
I'm something of the local Lisp fanatic where I work, which is an MS shop developing most of its code in Visual C++, Visual Basic, and C#. I am the target of many well-meaning jokes.
Switch Date 2001 RtL comp-lang-lisp