Why is Erlang so large?

User & <>
Sun Nov 28 22:55:29 CET 1999

On Sun, Nov 28, 1999 at 02:07:43PM -0600, James Hague wrote:
> 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.

No I think that erlang and mensa/otp would be a great platform to build
an openview clone/replacement.  And/or an ITO, applacation/system watcher
and responder, replacement.  For example if var is over 95% delete/move
all syslog files that are over 3 days old is the kind of thing you can
do in ITO.  Both of these use snmp to communicate, by polling and traps,
and both need a database.  And ITO is basicly a rule based expert system
which would fit nice with erlang.

With that said partitioning it might not be a bad idea, just to make life
easier in the new people, like myself.  A ports system like what is in
freebsd might also apply or a cpan(perl thing) would be nice.  For the
uninitiated what both do is get and install things on your system in
a recursive fashion.  So if you wanted to install something that depended
on 5 packages and one of those 5 packages needed 2 others here is what
would happen:

1: get the package you want, erlang_openview for example(hint hint)
2: check for all packages that this one requires, if they exist then
   build the package
3: for each package that is not on the system do step 1 and 2

When it works it is fun to watch.  And when something like this is
in place it is great for reuse.


> Trimming down the current distribution would be an interesting project, I
> think.
> James

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