Monday, January 22, 2007

lisp on OS X

I’ve decided (finally) to learn lisp. I don’t know if it will make me a better programmer but if even half of what Paul Graham says about it is true, it has to be the best programming language ever written. =)

Mac OS X doesn’t ship with a lisp interpreter but there are several free implementations out there. After ruling out the ones that cost money and the ones that have icky IDEs that run in X11 and the ones that depend on things like Fink, you’re really only left with two options.

  1. Clozure CL (formerly known as OpenMCL)
  2. SBCL (Steele Bank Common Lisp)

I went with SBCL because it works on both PowerPC and intel. Installing it is pretty easy. You do need to have the Developer Tools installed on your computer as the install process makes use of gcc.

  1. Download the “binary” for the platform of your choice
  2. Uncompress/untar the bz2 file
  3. Fire up
  4. cd to the directory that you extracted from the tar file
  5. Run the following commands:
    sudo sh

That’s all there is to it. At this point you can run the lisp interpreter (sbcl) or bring up the man page for it.

UPDATE (27 August 2008): Clozure CL now supports both PPC and x86-64. CCL has always had better integration support for Mac OS X so it may now be a better choice for Mac users than SBCL. I haven't used it much but I plan to put it through it's paces.


A=|)o- said...

Hey what happened did you continue on LISP ? How was your experience with it ? I am on same state as yours. Just wanted to check how long does it last ? Thanks, Anand.

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