Sebastian Stern's Road to Lisp
I, Sebastian Stern, 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?
The first time I encountered Lisp, I immediately realized this was it. In 2000, I downloaded Lisp for the first time. It was Harlequin LispWorks. After that I downloaded some more implementations, such as Franz, and Corman. I also had SuSE Linux installed, which had a copy of CLISP.

What led you to try Lisp?
As synchronicity would have it, I read Douglas R. Hofstadters three wonderful articles about Lisp in Scientific American in the compendium book "Metamagical Themas", at fourteen years old. I became completely infatuated by Lisp. I realized that the languages I had learned until now, were ad-hoc and that Lisp is the natural way to construct a language.

Where did your road originate?
I had been programming from a very early age. I also was (and am) very interested in mathematics and the theory behind programming. Before I learned about Lisp, I had learned about Basic, HTML, C, C++, Java. I find it a pity that I am forced to use some these languages at my university instead of Lisp. I think it would make a big difference to introduce Lisp at universities to young programmers.

How far have you gotten in your study of Lisp?
I've studied CLtL2 and SICP, downloaded a few Lisp implementations and fiddled a little with them. I've also read various texts and articles on the internet. I read comp.lang.lisp. However, I have found it difficult to become proficient in Lisp. As much as I like Lisp, it is a complex tool, and it is difficult to master.

What do you think of Lisp so far? I 100% adore it. To me, the concepts that Lisp stands for are an embodiment of all that is beautiful in the Universe. However, I am only about 80% happy with Lisp as it is currently defined (CL and Scheme). I think there should be a new definition of Lisp (perhaps like TUNES or Genera or Graham's Arc) which combines Common Lisp's features with Scheme's elegance. As far as Lisp is concerned, I would love to create such a system.

P.S. I found these questions slightly confusing; for example, "What led you to Lisp?" and "Where did your road originate?" are allmost the same.

Switch Date 2000 | RtL Douglas Hofstadter