Talk:Lisp (programming language)

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Alleged Paul Graham quote[edit]

The article previously claimed:

  • More than anything else, I think it is the ability of Lisp programs to manipulate Lisp expressions that sets Lisp apart. And so no one who has not written a lot of macros is really in a position to compare Lisp to other languages. When I hear people complain about Lisp's parentheses, it sounds to my ears like someone saying: "I tried one of those bananas, which you say are so delicious. The white part was ok, but the yellow part was very tough and tasted awful."

While I see this on the Web in lots of places -- in exactly this form -- I can't find any evidence that Graham actually said it. It certainly sounds like him, but we need better sources than that. Crucially, I can't find it on his own Web site, where you'd certainly expect to see it if he wrote it. So I'm moving it here to give someone a chance to find any reliable source at all for the attribution. 121a0012 05:05, 29 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Anonymous said....[edit]

I removed the following. I cannot find any reliable source for the following:

  • Q: How can you tell when you've reached Lisp Enlightenment?
    A: The parentheses disappear.
    • Anonymous
  • You are in a maze of twisty little parentheses, all alike.
  • LISP stands for: Lots of Irrelevant Sets of Parentheses.
    • Anonymous
  • Only Lisp gods are omnipotent.
    • Anonymous
  • In an attempt on making a program language where you shorten everything and make it as small as possible, I suddenly found out that I'm only recreating Lisp without the parentheses.
    • Anonymous
  • Lisp is an ideal preprocessor for the language of your choice; ECL is an awesome C preprocessor. I assume that ABCL also finally brings a decent preprocessor, and macros, to Java...
    • An anonymous IRC user

Disturbingly, one putatively-reliable source for one of these gives this page as its only citation. Let's stamp out spurious "quotes"! 121a0012 05:19, 29 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]


  • There are no average Lisp programmers. We are the Priesthood. Offerings of incense or cash will do.
    • Kenny Tilton, "Re: Comparing development effort : Lisp and functional languages versus Java.", Usenet article <> (2001-12-31)

Exiling this one until someone can come up with a reason this fellow should be considered notable. Feel free to delete after a week or so. 121a0012 05:36, 29 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]


  • Just because we Lisp programmers are better than everyone else is no excuse for us to be arrogant.
    • Erann Gat
  • You seem (in my (humble) opinion (which doesn't mean much)) to be (or possibly could be) more of a Lisp programmer (but I could be (and probably am) wrong).
121a0012 05:39, 29 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  • Common Lisp is politics, not art.
    • Scott Fahlman
  • We all know that Lisp is the best language around, but in the hands of most it becomes like that scene in Fantasia when Mickey Mouse gets the wand.
  • I can't escape the sensation that I have already been thinking in Lisp all my programming career, but forcing the ideas into the constraints of bad languages, which explode those ideas into a bewildering array of details, most of which are workarounds for the language.
    • Kaz Kylheku
  • Programming in Lisp is like playing with the primordial forces of the universe. It feels like lightning between your fingertips. No other language even feels close.
    • Glenn Ehrlich
121a0012 05:53, 29 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  • No [programming] language feels more natural than Lisp. There's a real sense that while Python was invented by a brilliant programmer, Lisp is built into of the structure of the Universe.
    • Paul Rubin, comp.lang.python, 2003-10-18


  • Lisp ... made me aware that software could be close to executable mathematics.
See ACM Fellow Profile L. Peter Deutsch. --Pi zero (talk) 12:20, 19 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • Lisp isn't a language, it's a building material.
  • LISP has survived for 21 years because it is an approximate local optimum in the space of programming languages
  • Schemer: "Buddha is small, clean, and serious." Lispnik: "Buddha is big, has hairy armpits, and laughs."
    • Nikodemus Siivola
  • Lisp is a programmer amplifier.
    • Martin Rodgers (first said by Chuck Moore about Forth)
  • In Lisp, if you want to do aspect-oriented programming, you just do a bunch of macros and you're there. In Java, you have to get Gregor Kiczales to go out and start a new company, taking months and years and try to get that to work. Lisp still has the advantage there, it's just a question of people wanting that.
  • Including Common Lisp. [Addendum to Greenspun's Tenth Rule, see above]
    • Robert Morris