When did you first try Lisp seriously?
Over the past few years, starting in 2001. Thus Switch Date 2001.
Which Lisp did you try?
I actually started fiddling with Scheme first, then tried CMUCL and CLISP, before finally settling on SBCL.
What led you to try Lisp?
Philip Greenspun's blatantly Lisp-biased writings. Paul Graham's, too. Oh yeah, and jwz's. jwz and philg, curiously, talked about lisp in the past tense; Paul Graham actually talked about using it seriously, right now, to make great software faster than anyone else.
I also wanted to make some dynamically generated web pages, and I was frustrated with PHP and Tcl.
If you were trying Lisp out of unhappiness with another language, what was it and what did you not like about it, or what about Lisp were you hoping to find different?
PHP feels like an overgrown hack. You can't extend PHP unless you write C code. Tcl feels better designed, but I still wasn't too happy with it. When I read about Lisp macros, I thought it might help me express some things concisely that I couldn't do with PHP. On the other hand, I haven't applied Lisp to my Web programming projects yet; I'm still getting up to speed.
What other languages did you look at besides Lisp, and what did you think of them?
I tried and liked Python. I haven't used it for anything in a while. I'm almost to the point where I think of CMUCL's compiler instead of GvR's language when I hear "Python."
If you had heard bad things about Lisp before trying it, what were those things, from where did you hear them, and why did you try Lisp anyway?
Slow, weird, dead. I can't really remember where I heard them. I never heard any anti-lisp propaganda, I just heard vague stuff in the air about Lisp in the past tense. CMUCL didn't really change my "weird" impression. The build/installation instructions made my eyes cross. After trying SBCL, it was nice to see a free Lisp that was easy to build and was under visible development that I could actually understand.
How far have you gotten in your study of Lisp? (I know, that is hard to measure)
Things are going well. I've written useful, practical programs for my own use in Lisp. Network stuff, Linux ioctls, calling external programs - with SBCL, it's all just worked out. I'm sure it's almost as easy in other Lisps too.
What do you think of Lisp so far?
I love it, and hope to do all my hacking in it.