Lisp's reputation is so bad that many people don't even take a look at Lisp
Lisp is rarely chosen as the language to use for anything, except by people with a lot of Lisp experience, or who have been adopted into the community. It's almost a "cult" language in the sense of "cult movie": there's a fan base that's small but wildly enthusiastic.
When people hear Lisp success stories, they are usually surprised. When they hear that Lisp is suitable for a transaction processing system (ITA) or a shrink-wrapped education tool with a beautiful user interface (InspireData) or interactive Web commerce (Yahoo! Stores) or on the Deep Space 1 spacecraft (just to mention a few), they're often astonished if not incredulous.
Why won't more people consider using Lisp? Here's how I see the problem; I'd be interested to hear what you've heard.
These are some of the things I hear often from people who don't know Lisp but have heard a few things about it, or who have only had a quick exposure to Lisp. They have become "factoids" (inaccurate statement or statistics believed to be true because of broad repetition.) These factoids apply to the whole Lisp family, not just Common Lisp.
(At least the standard old complaints about garbage collection have mostly vanished, now that Java, C#, Python, and Ruby all do it.)
There are, of course, many possible replies to such concerns, and I think most of us are familiar with the replies. The problem is, someone with these preconceptions often doesn't even look for our replies!
The issue I'm interested in here is how we can go about rehabilitating Lisp's reputation, so that these misconceptions no longer steer people away from finding out our replies, and learning what's especially good about Lisp. (In other topics on this forum, I will discuss more sophisticated criticism of Lisp.)
What can we do?
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