Phosphorous, The Popular Lisp

Joseph F. Miklojcik III, Phosphorous, The Popular Lisp.

We present Phosphorous; a programming language that draws on the power and elegance of traditional Lisps such as Common Lisp and Scheme, yet which brings those languages into the 21st century by ruthless application of our “popular is better” philosophy into all possible areas of programming language design.

Introduces the concept of the Gosling Tarpit, and presents a novel method for having both a broken lexical scope (needed for popularity) and maintaining one's reputation as a language designer.

(via Chris Neukirchen)

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Clearly not popular enough...

... Phosphorous targeted emacs of all things. The designer should know better. Popular languages have bulky 'visual' IDEs.

Good one...

Should have saved that one for next April.

who knows ..

there is still hope for next april, as the language may actually become popular by then :D

The paper neglected the importance

of the Benevolent Dictator in popularity. All truly popular languages (and a few less popular) have a charismatic and quirky nerd at the helm.

Java, being stuck with Gosling, is the exception that proves the rule--although given that Gosling is thoroughly despised by RMS, that probably gives him some cred he would otherwise lack. :)

Nit Picking

It's a sad day when I know more about the language than the original authors. The following:

|56 doN e 65|

should actually be

|56 doZ e 65|

I'm also troubled by the concept of "retargeting the V2M to the CLR." This is needlessly recursive, since it implies a prior retargeting of the CLR to the V2M. I have a tail-recursive solution to the problem, but I'm going to leave it as an exercise for the reader. (Essentially, it involves one or more phosphorousMacros at the bytecodeLevel.)

Other than that, an admirably presented proposal for a language that I'm sure we could all grow to love. The concise expressiveness of XML, combined with the functional elegance of Visual Cobol and a very silly name.

In this day and age, I don't think we can ask more than that.


It's a very old joke guys, and your bitterness is showing. Get past it already.

We've got better things to do than read another iteration of the old tired joke based on the bitterness of lisp users about their language's unpopularity compared to the popularity of the relatively horrid XML.