Various (and almost completely unrelated) questions and opinions

David Gould davidg@REDACTED
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

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....


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

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