Meyer, OO and concurrency

Peter-Henry Mander <>
Thu Jul 14 10:07:17 CEST 2005

On Wed, 2005-07-13 at 23:36 +0200, Ulf Wiger wrote:
> Den 2005-07-13 20:59:00 skrev todd <>:
> > Ulf Wiger wrote:
> >
> >> You accounted for the views of others that C++ was a safer
> >> and more all-round choice than Erlang.
> >
> > You've got to be kidding. I said just the opposite several times.
> ???

Hi Uffe, hi Todd,

I think yet another language is causing unintended discord: English.

You're a good sport Todd. Having re-read the postings the whole
discussion could well have descended into a flamefest, but like Uffe
said, it's stayed pretty civil nonetheless.

May I just add a drop more oil(*) to the topic? Please don't take what
follows personally.

I have found that when learning Erlang it's helpful to un-learn all
one's assumptions and practices, and not carry over any experience of
imperative programming; It simply doesn't help when trying to grasp some
of the fundamental concepts that apply in functional/logic programming.

I have also found that Erlang scares people, in my case experienced C++
programmers, because they're stripped of all acquired knowledge and
tools; they must start to re-learn from scratch something they've grown
confident and capable in. It's _not_ like switching from C++ to Java,
for example, and involves dismissing a lot of invested time and study in
imperative languages. As a result only a few people I know have happily
got their hands dirty, and they're usually the ones who remember Prolog
et al. from university.

To appreciate the Erlang Way you need to climb a steep, but short
learning curve, and immerse oneself completely until the pennies drop.

Erlang, for all it's academic inspirations, is a pragmatic language.
There are many level by which it connects with external program modules,
ranging from IP/UDP to tightly coupled link-in drivers written on the
bare metal in C. There are several levels of term storage such as
process dictionaries, ets and mnesia. The OTP toolkit is so valuable in
it's own right that Erlang almost becomes a simple enablement

This is why I became interested in Erlang, it has an excellent Megaco
stack which allowed me to provide a protocol tester in record time, even
though I had to learn a completely new language.


(*) which may lubricate or add fuel to the fire, lets see...

"The Tao of Programming
 flows far away 
 and returns 
 on the wind of morning."

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