|Are you feeling down about arc? Disappointed? Skeptical?|
What were you expecting? (This isn't rhetorical. )
From a technical point of view, I happen to think arc encourages a certain elegance. But it doesn't matter. The release of Arc is bigger than functions and syntax.
Let me propose an alternative perspective. With a different set of expectations, perhaps the disappointed folks can find something to be happy about.
All programming languages are bigger than functions and syntax. "Languages" aren't really about APIs or interpreters or compilers or libraries. These things are important, but in some ways they are shadows on the wall.
If not technology, what is a language about?
In reality, languages are computerized manifestations of philosophies. They are about communities. They are about 'marketing' and they are about style.
Sure, PG and co. only released a few thousand lines of code, a tutorial, and a website. But in doing so, they established the foundations of a community.
Arc's philosophies are clear, they are different, and they are good. Arc is for exploratory programming; for fun; for concise, elegant programs; in short, for hacking. This is good.
The community is open. Arc has flaws. Some people see these flaws as a reason to spend a part of their lives writing criticisms online. Others see them as low-hanging fruit. Each problem is an opportunity to get involved.
Consider a thought experiment. What if Arc had been polished and smooth at release?
People would release applications built on Arc and pressure the developers to maintain backward compatibility. There would be massive attention/publicity/hype before it was ready, which would go wasted. Would-be hackers and contributors would have nowhere to start. Any flaw would be 'serious' and memories of that flaw would persist for years. Pop quiz: Is Java slow?
Arc's release is as it had to be. Anything larger would have been disastrous.
Arc has potential to create a large, friendly community around Lisp. It alone can make Lisp mainstream again.
As someone else posted on this forum, "Stop whining and start hacking."