is Ben Rudgers

The Problem with SLIME

A programmer wants to learn Lisp, now he has two things to learn. Lisp and Emacs. [1]

I no longer feel lost in Emacs. Once I started reading EmacsRedux, I was able to anchor it to my background with AutoCad – and there are huge architectural similarities between Emacs and pre-Windows versions of AutoCad.  Importantly for my learning process, both have a command driven interface.

The difficulty with the Emacs tutorial is that it is written around social mores. Thus it teaches the shortcuts which distinguish emacs community insiders from outsiders [2]. Yes, no sane experienced Emacs user will type:

  M-x next-line

But it turns:


from cryptic into mnemonic. That’s where beginners start.


[1] If your on Windows and aren’t afraid of learning Emacs, I strongly recommend LispCabinet. If you don’t want to learn Emacs, then LispIDE has the advantages (and disadvantages) that stem from being lightweight. Both work fine under Windows 8.

[2] http://learncodethehardway.org/blog/AUG_19_2012.html