Lingy - A Perl implementation of Clojure


Run the Lingy REPL:

    $ lingy
    Lingy 0.1.7 [perl]

    user=> (p<TAB>
    pos?     println  prn      pr-str
    user=> (prn "Hello, world!")
    "Hello, world!"

or a Lingy one-liner:

    $ lingy -e '(println "Hello, world!")'
    Hello, world!

or run a Lingy program file:

    $ echo '(println "Hello, world!")' >
    $ lingy
    Hello, world!

or run an example Lingy program:

    $ wget -q

    $ cat
    (defn main [number]
      (let [
        paragraphs (map paragraph (range number 0 -1)) ]
        (map println paragraphs)))

    (defn paragraph [num]
        (bottles num) " of beer on the wall,\n"
        (bottles num) " of beer.\n"
        "Take one down, pass it around.\n"
        (bottles (dec num)) " of beer on the wall.\n"))

    (defn bottles [n]
        (= n 0) "No more bottles"
        (= n 1) "1 bottle"
        :else (str n " bottles")))

    (main (nth *ARGV* 0 99))

    $ lingy 3
    3 bottles of beer on the wall,
    3 bottles of beer.
    Take one down, pass it around.
    2 bottles of beer on the wall.

    2 bottles of beer on the wall,
    2 bottles of beer.
    Take one down, pass it around.
    1 bottle of beer on the wall.

    1 bottle of beer on the wall,
    1 bottle of beer.
    Take one down, pass it around.
    No more bottles of beer on the wall.


Lingy is in ALPHA status.


Lingy is an implementation of the Clojure language that is written in Perl and hosted by Perl. Programs and modules written in Lingy have full access to Perl and its CPAN modules.

Perl modules can be written in Lingy and distributed on CPAN. (In the future) Lingy code is compiled to a bytecode and should perform on the same order of magnitude as XS modules.

Since Lingy will be a complete Clojure implementation, it should be able to run programs written in Clojure and make use of libraries written in Clojure.

Clojure is a language that cleanly solves many of the problems of Java including making concurrency simple, and writing functional programs with mostly immutable data types. It is a Lisp dialect that is hosted by Java and compiles to JVM byte code. It has access to any libraries that target the JVM.

Much of the Clojure language is written in Clojure (self hosted) and Lingy actually uses the Clojure source code. A variant of Clojure called ClojureScript uses the same Clojure source code but is hosted by JavaScript with full access to NPM modules. Lingy also intends to eventually be ported to and hosted by many other programming languages.

Lingy started as a Perl implementation of the Make a Lisp project. This provided a bare-bones Clojure-inspired Lisp interpreter from which Lingy has grown upon.


    cpanm Lingy


The Lingy language installs a command lingy. You can use this command to run Lingy programs, start a Lingy REPL or run Lingy one-liner expressions.

  • lingy --repl (or just lingy)

    Starts a Lingy interactive REPL. The REPL has readline support that includes:

    • Command history

    • CTL-R searching

    • Parentheses match highlighting

    • CTL-C to abort a command w/o leaving REPL

    Use CTL-D to exit the REPL

  • lingy foo bar

    Run a Lingy program passing in arguments. Arguments are available in Lingy as *ARGV*.

  • cat | lingy - foo bar

    Run a Lingy program from STDIN and pass in arguments. The - means run from STDIN instead of a file. If there are no arguments you can omit the -.

  • lingy -e '(println "Hello" (nth *ARGV* 0))' world

    Run a Lingy one-liner with arguments.

    When used with --repl, run the -e code first, then enter the REPL.


  • -e <string>, --eval=<string>

    A Lingy string to evaluate.

  • -r, --repl

    Start a Lingy REPL. Can be used with -e.

  • --ppp

    Print the Lingy compiled AST for a -e expression.

  • --xxx

    YAML dump the Lingy compiled AST for a -e expression.


If you run lingy --repl (or just lingy) you will start a Lingy interactive REPL. You can run Lingy commands and see the output.

The REPL has command line history to save all your commands. It also has readline history search (ctl-r) and tab completion.


If you have Clojure installed on your system and you run this command in the Lingy REPL: (clojure-repl-on), then every command you enter will be evaluated both by Lingy and Clojure. Run (clojure-repl-off) to turn it off. Start the Lingy REPL with lingy --clj to turn it on from the start.

Also if you run a command like ;;;(source first) it will only run on Clojure. The command is a comment to Lingy but the REPL will remove the ;;; and pass it to Clojure.

Using this feature is a great way to compare how Lingy and Clojure work. Eventually they should be very close to identical but currently Lingy is still a baby.




Copyright 2023 by Ingy döt Net

This is free software, licensed under:

The MIT (X11) License