Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Lisp book incident

The herd effect in programming is very powerful.  Whatever is the programming flavour this year, that's where the crowd is going to be.  Lots of Java, C#, VB etc.   If you ever wondered on the uptake of Lisp and its ilk....

A few years ago, I happened on a copy of Winston Horn's Lisp book in a book store.   The book seemed untouched, was dusty and was jammed in one corner of a bookshelf.  When I wanted to buy it, the owner seemed happy to get rid of it.  He even gave me a good discount over the list price saying "That's the last copy I have and you're the first person in years to buy this book"

hmmm....

Lugging it around my workplace, a few weeks later, I misplaced it.  Searching all over the usual places, I couldn't locate it.  Resigned to the fact that I lost the book within a few weeks of purchase, I made a half hearted call to security, whether someone returned the book there.

To my delight, he said, that the book was found by one of the security personnel in the cafeteria and I could come and collect it.

When I went to get it, the head of security said "What is this Lisp?  I've not heard of it.  If this had been a Java, C# or ASP book, you'd not have got the book back. It would have been taken by someone."

Guess that's the bright side of getting your book back. OTOH, Lisp popularity....