M-J Dominus: “Why Lisp Won’t Win” — Still Applicable?

Mark-Jason Dominus on “why lisp won’t win”:

Here’s the real reason why Lisp won’t win. The Lisp programmers don’t want it to win. They’re always complaining that not enough people are using Lisp, and that Lisp isn’t popular. But they humiliate and insult newcomers whenever they appear in the group. (The group regulars would no doubt respond to this that the newcomers deserve this, because they’re so stupid and argumentative.) If Lisp did become popular, it would be the worst nightmare of the comp.lang.lisp people.


This is from 2003. Now in 2005 there exist things like Practical Common Lisp, which seems to be all of the lisp and none of the attitude.

And we have Reddit.com, where — I counted — one fifth of the current stories on the front page are about Lisp or Scheme, some of them very old stuff (the classic Scheme textbooks, “How To Design Programs” and even more classic, “Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs,” are both front page items as I write this.)

Could it be that there has been some kind of transformation in the last year or two in the classic Lisper attitude?

Is it just me or is there a crazy huge Lisp buzz these days? It could just be that I read Reddit a lot and it’s run on lisp and backed by Paul “Lispmonster” Graham.

BTW, I found “Why Lisp Won’t Win” on Reddit’s new page. It was one of two further lisp links that hadn’t yet been promoted to the front page. (The other was this one.

I’m betting those will shoot to the front page too soon. Lisp posting seems to be as easy a formula for Reddit popularity as Microsoft bashing has classically been for Slashdot popularity.

1 thought on “M-J Dominus: “Why Lisp Won’t Win” — Still Applicable?”

  1. It’s just you. The only time I hear about lisp is when I’m reading your blog. Then again, I don’t go out of my way to track down anything lisp-related, either. :)

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