Subject: Re: Impressing colleagues with Lisp - looking for stories from the trenches
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Thu, 02 May 2002 18:31:46 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Paolo Amoroso <>
| One of the most interesting recent threads was the one about how people
| got started with Lisp. Here is another potentially interesting issue: how
| did your impress your clients, bosses or colleagues with Lisp
| applications, language features or tools? One of the reasons I ask is
| because I haven't impressed anybody--yet :)

  The first thing I did that impressed a system admin and got him on my
  side "against" management was to write a small set of wrapper functions
  around the /etc/passwd database, which you can do in any language, and
  then write setf methods for them that did the real thing.  While any
  sysadmin knows that changing a user ID involves a file system walk for
  files owned by the existing user ID and changing them one by one, this
  operation is not generally thought of as

(setf (user-id (find-user "username")) 666)

  This operation is now abstracted away from the script-like solution and
  can now also be implemented in the kernel, or by modifying an unmounted
  file system, or something else.  So, a unified approach to getting and
  setting all the fields of the password file was so attractive that he
  helped me get Common Lisp in the door.  And that is just setf...
  In a fight against something, the fight has value, victory has none.
  In a fight for something, the fight is a loss, victory merely relief.

  70 percent of American adults do not understand the scientific process.