Why is Erlang so large?

James Hague jhague@REDACTED
Sun Nov 28 21:07:43 CET 1999

On Sun, 28 Nov 1999, Per Hedeland wrote:
> Well, there was some discussion of this before the release, and
> basically the consensus was that 7 MB wasn't too bad in this day and age
> (the current distribution of emacs is 14 MB, and gcc is 12 MB:-), and
> that it would be an acceptable way to avoid the hassle of dealing with
> multiple packages (at both ends - it may be confusing for users to
> figure out what they need too). But maybe the decision should be
> reconsidered...

It's not just 7MB.  It's 7MB for the core source, then ~3MB for the
documentation.  Or 13MB for the Windows version without sources.

In general, I agree that 10MB isn't overly large in this day of 100MB
patches for Visual C :)  But Erlang is a relatively tiny system.  It's
text-based.  There are hardly any audio-visual files included in the core
7MB.  As such, I'm somewhat surprised that the latest Erlang system for
Windows expands to 24 megabytes.

I do think it would be useful to draw a line between the concurrent
functional language Erlang and the OTP, and not just because the average
user won't need megabytes of Mnesia related files.  I think Erlang is a
fantastic general purpose language, and I'd encourage people to give it a
try for that reason alone.  But such a person, upon downloading it, is
going to be presented with something that looks like a system that can
only be used for writing telecom applications.

Trimming down the current distribution would be an interesting project, I


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