Arc has been released

:: programming, arc, lisp, racket

This has been a long time in coming. Paul Graham and Robert Morris have released an initial version of the Arc programming language.

They recommend using version 352 of MzScheme because the latest version apparently breaks Arc. I already had 360 installed and was in a hurry, so I tried it, and most of the tutorial seemed to work fine except for the web server which failed. I’ll try later with 352 and see how it goes.

The language is still quite volatile, so I’m not sure if anyone is too interested in investing a lot of time creating libraries yet, but when the language settles down, I’m very curious about the acceptance level of Arc.

It seems to have quite a bit of Lispy goodness, and I’ve agreed with Paul’s language philosophy from what I’ve read about what he wants Arc to become. Hopefully it will live up to those ideas. On the one hand, I can see benefits in having a standard such as the one for Common Lisp, but on the other hand, Ruby & Python have done extremely well with the BDFL model with Matz & Guido, and I think Paul Graham could pull off that role if he wants to.

A problem with a “standards” approach is the proliferation of implementations dividing the community; whereas, the single implementation languages seem to have a more unified community.

If Arc can retain the best of Lisp, add some niceties from other languages and attract an active developer community, I think it may become very interesting.


Probably one of the best things I’ve gotten out of the Arc release so far was a tip from a guy on the forum on how to add readline support to the Arc REPL using rlwrap. I’d never heard of rlwrap before, and it’s awesome! I can now get readline support for logo and arc without needing to rebuild them with native support.

sudo apt-get install rlwrap
rlwrap logo

What a great idea :)