Impressions of Mozart-Oz

Mike Williams <>
Thu Dec 12 10:28:43 CET 2002


|> There hasn't been a Functional/Logic 
|> programming trend like the OO fad that swept the scene (Not a trendy 
|> concept? Maybe before my time? It is old after all...),  

Language fads to remember are:

Assembly --> FORTRAN
Stuctured programming ---> Pascal, Algol
Pascal, Algol ---> C (a step backwards, but driven by Unix)
Pascal ---> Ada (there was a heck of a lot of hype around Ada at one time)
Proper concurrency in UNIX (Select, sockets, IP - far too heavyweight, was
                            was very influential on programming style if not
                            really a language fad, "select" in Unix comes
                            from Ada's "select" (I think)) 
C ---> C++, OO (Objective C etc never stood a chance)
C++ ---> Java (well I suppose it can be seen as a *slight* improvment)
Java/C++ ---> UML (Another step backwards)

|> and Ericsson, 
|> despite the courageous erlang.org Open Source effort, hasn't invested 
|> the kind of effort of the same scale that propelled C++ and Java into 
|> prominence. It's no fault of theirs, they're sadly not going to make 
|> money out of Erlang.

We (Ericsson) had the crazy idea we could make money by selling Erlang
and set up a limitted company "Erlang Systems AB" to market and sell Erlang.
I was CEO of this company for a couple of years. With the benefit of hindsight
If we had made Erlang open source then, about two years before the Java "fad"
we might have seen the spread of Erlang earlier. On the other hand Erlang was
not so stable then and didn't have so many applications.

|> The remarkable thing is that Erlang is growing in popularity simply due 
|> to its technical superiority. This is a freakish rareity!

Not so freakish, for example things like TCL/TK and Perl are speading
without any marketting effort. The initial spread of Linux also had no
marketting behind it. We will know that Erlang has made it into the 
mainstream if large companies (like the ones nowadays pushing Linux)
start pushing Erlang.


/Mike W

PS. Hindsight again, Joe pointed out to me another thing we did wrong. We
pushed Erlang as a Declarative / Functional language. If we had played down
these aspects and pushed it as a "concurrency oriented" language we might



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