The Clojure Dynasty

(This was written as a response to Of Weighty Matters, or Thumbs Still Down for Clojure)

I hear ya. Clojure’s Lisp nature is currently bounded by the JVM’s. Its primitives are not designed for environments as living and breathing as Genera. The hype surrounding Clojure is strong enough to attract programmers who are not necessarily imbued with a sense of the history of Computing, much less of Lisp and its heritage. Clojure prides itself on its practicality. 

But really, the size of a language’s standard library is a red herring. I think the kicker in Arcane's blog post is that this is a social matter. Clojure will be perceived as lighter, more nimble than CL even if/when it surpasses it in standard library size. It's essentially an unexamined prejudice that has unfortunately settled in the wider programming community (similar to stereotypes which coincide with absence of reflection in society at large). 

Clojure obviously has an easier time attracting positive attention compared to CL, especially in light of the “rockstar”/”hipster”/”awesome” rhetoric that has helped some technologies gain mindshare this past decade. CL carries too much cultural baggage to be perceived as innocently as the fledgling. It doesn’t really hurt either that Clojure backs contemporary lobbies such as concurrency and functional programming.

I think, if there’s anything it should be praised for, it’s that Clojure is not only a language which wants to be used, but that it wants to drag a part of Lisp with it. Clojure is an evolutionary step for the mainstream acceptance of Lisp. It’s easy for the old guard to dismiss it as unnecessarily revolutionary in its rejection of the traditional bloodline, but Lisp really needed a clean break in order to push its ideas into the spotlight anew. 

In due time, the rest will be rediscovered (and hopefully surpassed). 

  1. uros posted this
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