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Responses to the Quicklisp CL survey

I got over 500 responses to my CL survey. Here are a few charts to summarize the data.

What CL implementations do you use regularly?

More than 80% of responders use SBCL. Clozure is next with around 30%.

What operating systems do you use with CL regularly?

Almost 80% use Linux. I was surprised that Mac and Windows are so similar. Most of the CL nerds I know use Macs.

What programming languages do you use regularly?

75% use CL regularly. (I kinda expected this to be 100%.) But I was surprised by how few responders are also using Ruby and Clojure, relatively speaking, and how many are using C.

How do you interact with other CL users?

I was a little surprised to see that almost 25% of responders claim not to interact with other CL users at all.

How do you manage CL libraries?

Almost 60% don't do anything special. And asdf-install, despite its flaws, is a semi-popular option.

How do you use CL?

Over 80% use CL for hobby projects, but about as many people use CL in a primary role for paid projects as in a supporting role for paid projects.




Surprises, and non-surprises

I'm not surprised Windows is so 'popular': it's what a lot of people use at work. I work, and I use Lisp to be more productive at work, so I use Lisp on Windows, sometimes.

I'm surprised Ruby is so low (lower than Python!), but not that Clojure is. I've already got CL! :-)

I'm not surprised that so many don't interact at all. Lisp is a simple language (so I need almost no tech support), and a powerful one (so I can do things on my own). Plus, there isn't really any good online place for Lisp any more -- comp.lang.lisp was OK but today it's all full of spam, and Google Groups apparently doesn't have a spam filter (or even killfiles), and I'm way too lazy to find an alternative way to browse Usenet. :-)

When I see Lisp questions online, 49% of them are "How do I implement this trivial function in Lisp?" (i.e., homework), 49% of them are "I can't figure out packages/libraries" (gah...), and 2% of them are actually interesting questions. Complex languages like C++ and C# can have rich, vibrant forums with people discussing subtle syntax issues and what's coming in next year's version of the language. We really don't have that to fall back on. :-)

September 2014

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