diary at Telent Netowrks

Freenode #lisp denizens, and some percentage of comp.lang.lisp readers#

Thu, 25 Sep 2003 03:45:20 +0000

Freenode #lisp denizens, and some percentage of comp.lang.lisp readers who read the article I mistakenly posted instead of mailed privately, will know that earlier this year I was flirting with the possibility of writing a book. 'Flirting' is not really the right term: I got as far as producing an outline and sending it to a publisher who appeared to like the idea, so if we're going to stick with this general metaphor, I got as far as a dinner date and invitation back for coffee afterwards.

Actually, let's drop that metaphor.

So anyway, today I'm feeling slightly up on hearing the news that there were more than 100 participants in #lisp again (even if two of them are me), and slightly down on hearing from the prospective publisher, who I hope won't mind being excerpted here (this is all public information anyway; I wouldn't post the sensitive stuff), that

According to sourceforge, the i386 rpms for [GNU CLISP] 2.3.1 have been downloaded 351 times since 8/31/03, and the 2.3.0 rpms have been downloaded 2,454 times since 9/02. The win32 archive has been downloaded 1,436 and 11,059 times, respectively. The other lisp projects on sourceforge have barely been downloaded at all.

(He's basically engaged in trying to figure out the size of the potential market for a book aimed at teaching Lisp to users of other high-level languages: Perl and Python and suchlike. Poor soul)

So I went to have a look, and modulo that I wouldn't trust sourceforge stats further than I can throw them, he's absolutely right. SBCL downloads seem to average about 100 a month, though with enough noise to make any kind of useful analysis worthless. That's one user for every ten developers. Of course, there are probably also people following CVS, and the Debian packages aren't counted in that and may be good for a few more, but even so. (Yes, I've looked at the popularity-contest figures. No, they don't cheer me up much)

In fairness, I think the real reasons I'm not feeling so great right now are (a) I still have no idea about this stupid threading/GC/locking/whatever-it-is bug, which moves somewhere else every time I put in any kind of code that would help me track it down, and (b) I'm still spending too much time dealing with recruiters. If I knew what I was doing on at least one of these scores, I would face with more grace and equinamity the knowledge that it's getting on for the best part of a year since I started on the current attempt to add thread support to SBCL.