basic questions regarding message sequence guarantees...

Anders Ramsell <>
Thu Apr 29 01:48:33 CEST 2004

Kris Prieb wrote:
> 2.) Now suppose ‘B’ is monitoring ‘A’.  Suppose also that another 
> process ‘C’ is monitoring ‘A’ and that a ‘Down’ message from ‘A’ to ‘C’ 
> will trigger ‘C’ to send a message to ‘B.’ 
> My understanding is that Erlang does _/not/_ guarantee that A’s ‘Down’ 
> message to B will arrive before C’s message to B.  Is this correct?

I have been thinking of asking about a variation of this question 
myself. In my scenario a process A first sends a message 'first' to a 
process B. After that it sends another message 'second' to an 
intermediary process C. When the process C receives the 'second' message 
and only then it will send a message 'second' to process B.

In this scenario we know that two messages are sent from process A. Not 
just one of them. We also know in what order those messages are sent and 
that each message sent from process A will result in exactly one message 
being recieved by process B.

Is it really possible in this scenario for the message 'second' to be 
recieved by the process B before it receives the message 'first'?

	  A    	              C	       	       	  B    	       	
           |                   |                   |
           |                   |            |----> | (received second)
           |                   |            |      |
           |   first           |            |      |
           | ------------------------------------> | (received first)
           |   second          |            |      |
           | ----------------> | (received  |      |
           |                   |    second) |      |
           |                   | -----------|      |
           |                   |                   |

It seems funny that a detour can end up being a shortcut.

In some cases it could be useful to know (if that is in fact the case) 
that the order of the messages 'first' and 'second' in the above 
scenario will be preserved.

Of course if in fact such a guarantee can be made it seems to me that it 
would be broken by (almost?) any change to the scenario. I.e. not 
knowing or changing the order of the sends from process A, process C 
sending a 'second' message to process B without receiving one from 
process A, etc. But now I'm rambling...

Anders Ramsell

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