When comparing Clojure vs Rust, the Slant community recommends Clojure for most people. In the question“What is the best programming language to learn first?” Clojure is ranked 17th while Rust is ranked 19th. The most important reason people chose Clojure is:
Clojure programmers are highly encouraged to use immutable data in their code. Therefore, most data will be immutable by default. State change is handled by functions (for transformations) and atoms (an abstraction that encapsulates the idea of some entity having an identity).
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Pro Immutability is the default
Clojure programmers are highly encouraged to use immutable data in their code. Therefore, most data will be immutable by default.
State change is handled by functions (for transformations) and atoms (an abstraction that encapsulates the idea of some entity having an identity).
Pro Minimal syntax
Being a LISP, programs are simple: they're just functions and data. That it doesn't get bogged down with syntax or the loftier FP concepts like monads makes it one of most approachable functional languages for beginners.
Pro Good for writing concurrent programs
Since Clojure is designed for concurrency, it offers things like Software Transaction Memory, functional programming without side-effects and immutable data structures right out of the box. This means that the development team can focus their energies on developing features instead of concurrency details.
Pro Huge ecosystem of libraries to work with
There's a very large ecosystem of high-quality Clojure libraries which developers can use. One example is Incanter. It's a great data analytics library and a very powerful tool for dealing with matrices, datasets and csv files.
Pro Tries to solve problems as simply as possible
Simplicity is one of the pillars on which Clojure is built. Clojure tries to solve many problems in software development as simply as possible. Instead of building complex interfaces, objects or factories, it uses immutability and simple data structures.
Pro Dynamic language
A superb data processing language. While rich type and specification systems are available they are optional.
Pro Cross platform
Clojure compiles to JVM bytecode and runs inside the JVM. This means that applications written in Clojure are cross-platform out of the box.
Pro Rich Hickey
The creator is so awesome, he's a feature. Just look up his talks and see why.
Clojure has an elegant macro system which enables language additions, Domain-specific languages (DSLs), to be created much easier than most other languages (with the exception of Racket, perhaps).
Pro Great tool used in automating, configuring and managing dependencies available
Leiningen is a very useful tool for Clojure developers. It helps wiht automation, configuration and dependency management. It's basically a must for every Clojure project.
Pro Game is available with which you can learn Clojure
Nightmod is a tool used to make "live-moddable" games. It displays the game's code while you are playing and allows you to inject new code using Clojure. This can be a fun and useful experience for people trying to learn Clojure.
Pro No C/Java syntax
Pro Catch errors at compile-time
Since Rust is statically typed, you can catch multiple errors during compile time. This is extremely helpful with debugging, especially compared with dynamically typed languages that may fail silently during runtime.
Pro Threads without data races
Unique ownership system guarantees a mutable data to be owned and mutated by only one thread at a time, so there's no data race, and this guarantee is checked at compile time statically. Which means easy multi-threading.
Of course, immutable data can be shared among multiple threads freely.
Pro Compiles to machine code allowing for extra efficiency
Rust uses LLVM as a backend, among other things this allows Rust code to compile down to machine languages. This allows developers to write programs that run as efficiently as possible.
Pro Generics support
You don't have to write same array and dictionary classes hundreds and thousands times for strong type check by compiler.
Pro Supports cross compilation for different architectures
Since Rust 1.8 you can install additional versions of the standard library for different targets using
$ rustup target add x86_64-unknown-linux-musl
Which then allows for:
$ cargo build --target x86_64-unknown-linux-musl
Pro Support for macros
When you identify a part of your code which gets repeated often, which you cannot abstract using functions or classes, you can use Rust's built-in Macros.
Pro Makes developers write optimal code
Rust is a modern programming language written around systems. It was designed from the ground up this way. It's language design makes developers write optimal code almost all the time, meaning you don't have to fully know and understand the compiler's source code in order to optimize your program.
Furthermore, Rust does not copy from memory unnecessarily, to give an example: all types move by default and not copy. Even references to types do not copy by default. In other words, setting a reference to another reference destroys the original one unless it's stated otherwise.
Pro Built-in concurrency
Rust has built-in support for concurrency.
Pro Easy to write understandable code
While not as verbose as Java, it still is much more verbose than languages like Go and Python. This means that the code is very explicit and easy to understand.
Pro Zero-cost futures or Async IO
Con Confusing error messages
Clojure's error messages more often than not are very confusing. They usually involve stack traces that do not thoroughly explain where the error was caused or what caused it.
Con Tied to the JVM and it's limitations.
Some language constructs were obviously created as workarounds for JVM limitations. This makes the language much less elegant than it could have been.
Also, the JVM has a very cumbersome FFI.
Con Syntax can be alien / jarring for those used to other Lisps
Perhaps some may consider this attribute an advantage, but I do not. Clojure does not attempt to maintain significant compatibility with other Lisps. So, if you already know a Lisp or are used to the way Lisp works in general, you'll probably be confused if you take a look at Clojure. See these resources for more details on this subject:
Con Hard to find learning resources or libraries
Because it's still a relatively new language, Rust does not enjoy a following as large as other languages/environments. Rust development has also been rather volatile for a long time during the beginning of the development of the language adding to this issue.
Because of the small community, it's harder to find useful libraries for projects or any other kind of resource.
Con Asynchronous I/O is not (yet) a part of the core language
The issue of asynchronous I/O is still being discussed as a language feature, and not yet in the implementation phase. See the RFC on GitHub here.