Nu is an interpreted Lisp that builds on the Objective-C runtime and Foundation framework.
Objective-C Nu C Emacs Lisp HTML Assembly Other
Latest commit c862115 Sep 29, 2015 @timburks Merge pull request #80 from hodgeswt/patch-3
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Xcode Add Default-568h@2x.png so Xcode will shut up about it Apr 2, 2013
baked Changes to allow Nu to run with GNUstep-base on Linux. Dec 14, 2008
examples Removed macro-0 from .nu files and tools. One regression remains for … Jul 4, 2011
include/Nu Combine all Nu source code into a single Nu.[hm] pair of files. Jul 3, 2011
libffi s/stmeqia/stmiaeq/ in libffi/ffi.S; fixes issue #36 Apr 2, 2013
main streamlining for Lion/iOS5 runtimes. Dropping GNUstep support. Jun 15, 2011
notes run apt-get update at start of Ubuntu installation script. Jun 21, 2013
nu Disabled smart quotes on nu console Feb 15, 2014
objc fix a framework-loading problem on Linux, add some extra braces out o… Apr 11, 2014
pkg Company name changed. Jun 12, 2011
share/nu delete xcode.lang.character since it catches single-quote Sep 11, 2010
test added support for colons in operator-generated markup tags Mar 24, 2014
tools renamed the nu code formatter to "nustyle" Apr 21, 2014
util New block-based handler support using imp_implementationWithBlock. Jun 18, 2011
.gitignore Fixed gitignore Jun 30, 2013
.travis.yml .travis.yml to support continuous integration on Travis CI Apr 23, 2013
LICENSE Relicensing to the Apache Public License, v. 2.0. Mar 12, 2008
Makefile added linker flags -lm and -ldl Aug 3, 2013
NOTICE Company name changed. Jun 12, 2011
Nukefile updated install for nustyle Apr 21, 2014 Updated Readme Sep 28, 2015
bootstrap Company name changed. Jun 12, 2011 Created Sep 28, 2015 removed hard-coded /Developer paths, added top-level to more… Jun 11, 2011 Created Sep 28, 2015


Hello and welcome to Nu.

I created Nu because I wanted a better way to write software.

I wanted to write with a language as flexible and powerful as Lisp, but I also wanted to be able to work with the many libraries and high-performance subsystems written in C, including the ones that I write myself. So a tight integration with C was my highest priority; that ruled and drove the implementation of Nu. That's why Nu is "C over lambda."

It is easier to integrate with C when you have a disciplined way of structuring C code. Popular scripting languages (Python, Ruby, Lua, etc.) make many implementation-dependent impositions on the C code that they call. Their artifacts are often called "glue code" and are usually ugly, cumbersome, and unpleasant to generate.

Objective-C provides a proven way of structuring C code that has no scripting language implementation dependencies. But it can do much more than that. Objective-C can also serve as a platform for a powerful dynamic language.
Nu was designed to take full advantage of that. It was also designed to provide many of the elements of successful scripting languages, notably Ruby, while adding the syntactic simplicity and flexibility of Lisp.


Nu is copyrighted open-source software that is released under the Apache License, version 2.0. For details on the license, see the LICENSE file. In its use to name a programming language, "Nu" is a trademark of Radtastical Inc.

System Requirements

On Macintosh systems, Nu requires Mac OS X version 10.5 or greater. It is also possible to build Nu to run on Linux systems and the Apple iPhone.


Installation instructions are in the notes/INSTALL file.

Going Further

notes/DEMO contains a simple tutorial exercise that can acquaint you with Nu.

notes/USAGE describes a few of the ways that you can use Nu.

notes/ERRORS contains some pitfalls that I've encountered when programming with Nu.

notes/TODO contains some open issues that I'd like to address in Nu.

The examples directory contains several fun and interesting examples.

TextMate users can drag and drop share/Nu.tmbundle onto the TextMate application icon to add Nu-specific features to TextMate.


Tim Burks ( Radtastical Inc. Palo Alto, California, USA