Erlang vs Linux

Matthias Lang <>
Wed Feb 26 17:04:59 CET 2003

Michael Fogeborg <> writes:

  > Has anyone here seen an analysis explaning why and how Linux
  > came to what it is;  where this ( Linux ) is compared to Erlang and
  > finally how the same thing ( that happened to Linux )  can be made
  > to happen with Erlang ?

A large part of Linux's initial popularity stemmed from Unix's
existing popularity at universities. I've chosen linux twice, and both
times it's been because there was no reasonable alternative.

In 1993, I had a 386sx and a 40M IDE hard disk. I wanted something 
unix-like on it. My choices were

   1. SCO, which cost lots of money
   2. Minix, which isn't unix and also cost money.
   3. Solaris x86, which cost lots of money
   4. Linux, which was free (as in beer)

In 2001, we had a custom PPC860-based board we needed an operating
system for. The choices were

   1. VxWorks. Cost lots of money. Other reasons too.
   2. Other proprietary fringe OSes.
   3. Linux, which was free (as in beer)

Choosing Erlang isn't the same no-brainer. There are other choices
which let you get your job done too, albeit with a little more pain.
But many software developers are into pain, as long as its not from the
hip-pocket nerve.


(Why is BSD not on my lists? It's not on the first list because BSD
did not have IDE support in February 1993. It's not on the second list
because BSD has not been ported to the PPC860.)

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