Subject: Re: Your introduction to Lisp...
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Thu, 11 Apr 2002 16:04:50 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Bruce Lewis <>
| There's a useful conclusion to draw from this.  If you throw up your
| hands and say it's hopeless for someone who learns Scheme first to then
| learn CL, you're closing a door through which many people enter the CL
| community.

  Sure, they "discover" Common Lisp, but keep writing Scheme in it.  Some
  "think Scheme" even though they are actually learning and using Common
  Lisp.  It is important to inform those who discover Common Lisp that it
  is not just "a better Scheme".  Those who are not challenged in their
  belief that they can just keep writing Scheme may spread their "take" on
  Common Lisp faster than those who have figured it out, especially to
  other Scheme freaks.  Scheme is a like a mind-altering drug or some cult
  that warps people's ability to think straight, and the resistance to it
  is well-deserved, but precisely for that reason, people need to discover
  that knowing Scheme is not beneficial to learning a real Lisp.

  For instance, the following quote from O'Reilly's Write for Us page¹
  relates to deservedly bad experience with Scheme, not to Common Lisp,
  which is largely if not completely unknown.

However, we're NOT looking for: Any books on LISP, LaTeX, or Web-based training. 

  It is good that Scheme victims discover Common Lisp, just as with users
  of any other programming language, but most of the others discover that
  Common Lisp is a _different_ language from what they are used to, adjust
  accordingly, and proceed to _learn_ it.  Scheme victims seem to lack the
  appriciation that Common Lisp is an entirely a new language, and just
  think they know it, without ever getting the point.  Just like Java and C
  have very little in common besides the superficial syntactic similarity,
  Scheme and Common Lisp have very little in common besides the superficial
  syntactic similarity.  This is just like the racial slur "you people all
  look the same to me", where a group of people look "similarly different".
  In some people's minds, there is no need distinguish between them as long
  as you are not among them.  Common Lisp suffers greatly from being
  similarly different from "normal" languages as the villainous Scheme.


  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.

  Post with compassion: