Subject: Re: New to Lisp question: advantages of Lisp syntax?
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1999/06/02
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* "Jonathan" <>
| Because it has nothing to with the advantages of Lisp syntax, the subject
| of the post.

  my reason for asking you how _you_ found Lisp was that you did find it
  despite the negative impressions.  others do the same.  all the time.

| It bothers me because
| (1) I want the world to be a better place, when I can arrange it at no
| particular inconvenience to myself.

  well, the world becomes a better place if you make it a better place for
  you and those around you.  you can't cure stupidity or prejudice, and
  trying will bring you particular inconvenience.  if you want to try, at
  least do it with something that _actually_ hurts others.  people's bad
  impressions of Lisp don't hurt anybody (actively), but any change of
  impression will win big.

| (2) More lisp users = better support at lower cost

  this is not quite true, for a whole number of complex reasons.

| (compare the cost of Allegro to even an excellent C++ compiler ...)

  well, compare the cost of using them, instead.  Allegro CL is cheaper
  than even a _free_ C++ compiler.

| Even stuff like buying Lisp books is a pain

  no, but you _make_ it a pain.  you look in the wrong place and don't find
  what you want and then think it should be there and become inconvenienced
  and unhappy.  just don't do that.  use the Lisp community, instead.  find
  people who _share_ you fun, don't go look for people in general and
  complain that they don't share your fun.  nothing worthwhile is ever
  shared by the majority of people.  and if it's mass-marketed, you better
  not care personally about it -- nobody else does.

| Even "Advanced Lisp" is a special order (takes weeks, may never get it)
| at, I think.

  well, the problem with the Internet and these online book stores is that
  they tell you what you can't get, so you can complain about it.  would it
  be better not to tell you about that book unless they could provide it?

| And there are some other reasons as well, involving the logistics of
| funding and hiring for projects.

  very true, but a suddenly higher demand for Lisp programmers right now
  would mean a lot of people would have to lie about their skills, the way
  they lie about their C++ skills.  _most_ people who seriously want to do
  Common Lisp for pay, can do it.  those who know Common Lisp and would
  prefer it if given the opportunity, do number some people, but not a lot.
  if this "Common Lisp reserve" was called into duty, we would have a
  problem.  but I'll tell you what.  three years ago, I knew of no
  commercial Common Lisp activity in Oslo, but a lot of people had been
  talking about Common Lisp (within my earshot) for a decade or more.  I
  argued Common Lisp into a project, but it turned out that the management
  was allowing me to do whatever I wanted because they were ripping off the
  government printing office instead of doing solid business.  oh, well.
  another project started better, and now hires a lot of programmers.  my
  current project has spawned interest from yet others.  as of right now, I
  know of more than 10 people who do Common Lisp work for money, and I get
  phone calls about once a month for new projects or ideas from people who
  have heard about me or read my web pages -- no advertising here at all.
  the demand _is_ rising, but not faster than skilled programmers are
  formed -- there are a bunch of promising people at the U of Oslo.  (not
  in the CS Dept, of course -- one leading figure there caused the AI and
  Lisp folks to leave for another department, but he has since expired, and
  there are promising changes.)  I'm not sure I can even relate to people
  who think Lisp is in a rut.  I have a lot of contact with Franz Inc, and
  it they are generating more business, too.  this is a good time to be
  upbeat about Common Lisp.

  Jonathan, you've made the important first step.  please accept my welcome
  into the Lisp community, but don't start off wanting a better world;
  start _making_ a better world: become a great Common Lisp programmer.

@1999-07-22T00:37:33Z -- pi billion seconds since the turn of the century