Perspectives on Clojure and F#

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Here’s a Channel 9 video shot at Emerging Languages Camp 2010, the first conference on up-and-coming programming languages held in Portland on July 21 – 22. It’s a casual conversation with:

  • Rich Hickey, creator of the Clojure (pronounced “closure”) programming language. It’s a dialect of Lisp intended general-purpose functional programming language with a lot of support for concurrent programming. If you caught our Ignite Your Coding webcast with Robert C. “Uncle Bob” Martin earlier this year, you heard his high praise for the language. Clojure targets both the JVM and CLR.
  • Joe Pamer, compiler developer for the F# programming language. F# is a “hybrid” programming language, built with functional programming in mind, but also programmable in a more imperative object-oriented way. Much of it is compatible with the OCaml programming language, there are some C# ideas in there as well, and it’s one of the languages baked right into Visual Studio 2010.

In this conversation, Rich and Joe talk about their ideas on programming language design and evolution, functional programming, concurrency, how F# fits into Visual Studio and the granddaddy of them all, Lisp.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Symbolics XL1200 Lisp Machine: Free to a Good Home [Updated]


I’m giving the machine to HacklabTO, who were the first to contact me about it. Congrats, guys!

Symbolics XL1200 Lisp MachineIt’s been sitting in my basement long enough, and it’s time that it found a good home. By “it”, I’m referring to my deadbeat ex-housemate’s Symbolics XL1200 Lisp Machine (pictured on the right), a big hulking piece of computer industry history. If you want it and can either pick it up from me (I’m in the High Park area of Accordion City) or can make arrangements to have it shipped to you, it’s yours, FREE. And yes, by free, I mean “free as in beer”. Zero dollars. Gratis.

The full story of how I came to possess this machine is written up in a blog entry of mine from January 2007. As stated in that story, the machine, when last turned on, displayed the message “Hardware Error” and wouldn’t boot any further. As I wrote nearly two years ago:

The fact that it displays a diagnostic message suggests that all is not lost; if someone were willing to go over its numerous circuit boards with a logic probe, he or she may be able to diagnose and fix the problem. Alternately, someone out there who already owns an XL1200 could use it as a source for replacement parts.

It sat safely in a closet in my old house for three years and it’s been sitting in the storage locker of my condo for the past 18 months. It is in good condition, and aside from being put into the storage locker when I moved to the condo, it hasn’t been touched.

If you’re a hardware hacker, computer historian or just really, really, really like the Lisp programming language and want serious Lisp bragging rights, this machine can be yours for free if you can take it off my hands. Interested parties should contact me at