Want to learn LISP on Mac OS X

Recently you may have noticed a certain amout of of Paul Graham . What can I say, I really liked his book Hackers and Painters.

He talks somewhat extensively about the programming language LISP. To this end I have taken up the challenge and am now working through his instructional book ANSI Common Lisp.

Here is how I managed to get an emacs-based IDE running Common Lisp.

You need this web page for background: [ LINK ].

  1. Download fink if you don’t have it. This is a handy tool for grabbing new command-line-ish tools

  2. Make sure you can get clisp: “sudo fink list clisp” - something should come back with the word clisp in it. That meansl fink knows that the package exists

  3. Install it! “sudo fink install clisp”. Now go get a cup of coffee (3 minute build on my Powerbook).

  4. Install emacs (if you don’t have it already). I use the X11+Emacs because i could never get any of the other ports to work. I also like running emacs inside a terminal window, no mouse, no gloss, nothing. It keeps your portable (uh, I have to give it to the cult of vi on this one, vi is much more portable (but sucky, so who cares ;) )).

  5. Download the .emacs file to your home directory. Here’s the URL I got it from: .emacs. I’m a bit sketchy on linking directly to that file so if in doubt, check the starting website I mentioned at the start

  6. Fire up emacs

  7. On my powerbook i had to do some finger yoga fn + ctrl + meta + F5, look in the minibuffer until you get into lisp-inf mode

  8. Hit f5

  9. Boom, I was greeted with:


Get busy ;). Here’s a starter:

(defun hello-world nil (format t “Hello, World”))