Erlang is getting too big

Vlad Dumitrescu vlad_dumitrescu@REDACTED
Tue Oct 14 09:24:57 CEST 2003

From: "Francesco Cesarini"
> Finally the subject comes to light. And sadly enough, 90% of Erlang
> users are not able to defend themselves... Why? Because they are not on
> the mailing list.

Very good points, and also from almost first-hand source (as you are teaching
Erlang to many of the users you mention).

> In the good old days, they would attend three courses over a 6 months
> period and have all the time on this planet to learn (Ironically, when
> the language was compact). Today, if they are lucky, they might get a 5
> day course, OTP included.

Maybe it's just me, but I feel that there should be a much looser connection
between the evolution of the language and the financial situation of the
companies that are using it. However simple and compact a language might be, one
can't expect 5 days of training to create experts.

This is again the same issue: Erlang/OTP is a commercial system, which also has
been released as open-source. Not the other way around. This means the
commercial interests go before the others. This is completely understandable,
and possibly one of the main reasons why Erlang is so good.

> It was for these people Erlang was originally
> developed and kept simple. It was for this reason OTP was developed
> (Some parts were successful, others weren't).

Absolutely true. On the other hand, I (and a few more, I guess) use it nowadays
only in my spare time, so I can afford a more liberal approach.

*** Is there a way to keep the balance, so that everybody is happy?

I think Joe's (et al.) proposal of more clearly separating kernel Erlang from
OTP would be one good way to go in that direction. Not only at the code level,
but also above that. Unless of course, Erlang is seen as a necessary evil that
is used to distribute OTP ;-)

I'm babbling a little, but hopefully it's making some sense.

* Keep Erlang easy to learn for total beginners? Yes, but then dumping the whole
OTP on them at once might be a contradiction in terms.
* Take away the "telecom" mark from Erlang and step into other areas? Yes, and
again having to handle the whole OTP is somewhat working against that.
* Leave open the chance to improve Erlang? Yes, the new stuff might be provided
as a library, not as kernel language.

best regards,

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