Various (and almost completely unrelated) questions and opinions

David Gould <>
Tue Feb 20 04:51:28 CET 2001


On Mon, Feb 19, 2001 at 06:29:19PM -0600, Chris Pressey wrote:
> David Gould wrote:
> > On Mon, Feb 12, 2001 at 12:58:58AM -0600, Chris Pressey wrote:
> > > [...]  Partly what I'd like to see is a sort
> > > of "Dangerous Erlang" which trades off some of the safety and
> > > predictability for flexibility and expressivity.  [...]
> > Hmmm, I am thinking, "typeless Haskell" ;-)
> 
> Well, not entirely typeless - for that I think you have to go back to
> the lambda calculus itself or "alternative" languages like Unlambda,
> where there is only one "type", the function.  Erlang has a type system,
> it is just not strongly typed (but there are seperate static analysis
> tools to do that, too.)

Well, it was sort of a joke. It is just that since there is a constant
flamewar on comp.lang.functional about the necessity (or is it morality)
of strict typing, I decided to learn a little about haskell too.

Without insight, it is pretty on the page. Which I find to be a very
good first discriminator for languages. Ugly source text, ugly all the way
down. Canonical example: C++.

> Also I like Erlang's eager evaluation much better than Haskell's lazy
> evaluation.  It is easy enough to build a lazy evaluator in Erlang if
> you need one.
> 
> I've heard it said that "the number of Haskell programmers worldwide
> could fit in my bathroom" - Erlang's takeup may not be explosively
> large, but I think more people are actually *using* it for something,
> than Haskell.

Well yes. I do know of a few people doing things with ocaml though, so
it might be as widely used. But from the little I have looked at it, it
seems to not quite pass the ugly test. All the let in and in and in ...

> IMO Haskell == sophisticated, Perl == expedient, Erlang == one of the
> best blends of sophistication & expediency since... well, since C!

Very good, I like the observation about the blend as applied to C. I used
(back in the early 80s) to love C, but it gets worse as time goes by and
really is not a good choice for most of the things people use it for.

I agree, the blend of beauty and ruthless pragmatism in Erlang is rarely
found.

And you can even use the curly braces for something (the essential criteria
for language success as far as I can tell from the recent historical
evidence ;-)).

More later, I have a wife yelling something about dinner now....

-dg

-- 
David Gould                               510 536 1443
If simplicity worked, the world would be overrun with insects.



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