Resistance to Erlang

Thomas Lindgren <>
Tue Apr 12 12:26:05 CEST 2005


--- "Joe Armstrong (AL/EAB)"
<> wrote:

>     To make Erlang popular I think we must target
> the "partial domination" category for
> distributed fault-tolerant applications - this is
> what is was designed for, this is what it is
> good at.

It's also the area where most of the community works.
"Erlang" is not just a language, it's also the
surrounding problem-solving knowledge amassed by all
of us.

I wouldn't recommend artificially restricting our
interests, though. You mention Wings, which has a
hearteningly large community of users (seemingly
uninterested in Erlang, though?). There is also the
financial market, which I think sounds like an
interesting offshoot.

>     To make any inroads you must target your
> arguments to the audiences
> (ie arguments are not universal, use the correct
> argument
> for the correct person).

Yes, AS LONG AS you actually can fulfil the audience
needs. On the bright side, if you want to deploy a
technology, you are also handed a roadmap: just
address the reasonable objections. (And/or show that
the loud but unreasonable objections are baseless or
can be ignored. Or withdraw from the sub-area in
question.)

>    I think we need to aim at a balanced point were
> we have
> sufficient users so as to ensure that we do not die
> from starvation
> or just lack of interest - and not too many users so
> that those who
> do use Erlang retain their commercial advantage.

I think the latter is dangerous. You will as a
consequence also be starving any attempts to provide a
market for tools, consultants, etc.

Also, more practically, I just wouldn't consider a
stampede into Erlang a big risk today. The switch, if
any, looks like it will be to MDA and executable UML. 

>     There is one interesting group of people who are
> not singing the
> praises of Erlang - these are companies that are
> silently using Erlang
> in their products - they gain commercial advantage
> from this - and are not
> particularly keen to see their compeditors change
> from inferior technologies
> and start competing with them.

"During the years we worked on Viaweb I read a lot of
job descriptions. A new competitor seemed to emerge
out of the woodwork every month or so. The first thing
I would do, after checking to see if they had a live
online demo, was look at their job listings. After a
couple years of this I could tell which companies to
worry about and which not to. The more of an IT flavor
the job descriptions had, the less dangerous the
company was. The safest kind were the ones that wanted
Oracle experience. You never had to worry about those.
You were also safe if they said they wanted C++ or
Java developers. If they wanted Perl or Python
programmers, that would be a bit frightening-- that's
starting to sound like a company where the technical
side, at least, is run by real hackers. If I had ever
seen a job posting looking for Lisp hackers, I would
have been really worried."
 -- Paul Graham, Beating the Averages

>     IMHO people will use language X instead of Y if
> they can make more money
> using X than using Y - then eventually all the users
> of Y die out - Darwinism.

We would then need to make the case that Erlang in
total saves money. This is not self-evident to
managers, even Ericsson managers who know Erlang.

Best,
Thomas



		
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