new syntax - a provocation

Vlad Dumitrescu <>
Tue Sep 23 11:08:19 CEST 2003


From: "Joe Armstrong"

I'll comment just on a few things.

> 2) We have to distinguish the *essential* features of Erlang from
> the non-essential.
>
> IMHO the *essential* features are:
>
> - light weight concurrency
> - inter-process isolation
> - transparent distribution
> - remote detection of errors
>
> All the rest (HOFs, structs, List comprehensions, type systems,
> bit syntax, macros, includes, ... bla bla) are "nice to have"
> but NOT essential.

Yes, this is very true. But if these "nice to have" features are not present and
writing code is a pain, with hairy notations and hard to see at a glance
structure, then nobody will want to write that code. Or they will develop a
nicer abstraction layer on top of it.

> IMHO we need to modify Erlang to increase the isolation properties.

Can this be done? Where do you think isolation as it is now isn't enough?
Flooding another process is one thing - is it really possible to prevent against
that? Running exit(Pid, kill) is another.

>   All  these  nice  things that  people  want  are  a *pain*  for  the
>          implementor. A small number of very general things is easier to
> implement than a lot of special cases.

I am a developer :-)

> I think the right thing is to *remove* non-essential stuff and
> build on the central core concepts -

I think both things should be worked on: the core concepts and a kernel language
supporting them efficiently on one hand, and on the other a (more) general
programming language, simple, extensible, beautiful to look at (and also maybe
with some whistles and bells :). In the end, both will be needed.

regards,
Vlad



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