Erlang Micro Edition.

Alex Arnon alex.arnon@REDACTED
Wed Jun 29 12:00:16 CEST 2005

Hi All.

I would like to hear your opinions on the usefulness of creating a
small-footprint Erlang VM. Specifically, such a project might follow
the J2ME approach, where the VM+basic libraries are cut down versions
of the full environment, while retaining compatibility to code
compiled using the standard tools. This would mean that while BEAM
files should be loadable and linkable in runtime by the VM, fewer BIFs
and a much smaller set of standard libraries would be supported
relative to the standard ERL, and possibly less functionality out of
the door (e.g. no distribution initially). Such a VM might also add
some functionality, e.g. features for stricter resource management
(this is meant for relatively small embedded systems).
The basic aims of such a project:
- To bring Erlang to the table of embedded software engineers (and as
a generally embedded lightweight language/environment). The current
standard Erlang implementation is neither lightweight nor portable
enough for many projects.
- The idea is to "give them a taste" of the full Erlang - while some
enterprising devs would try something like Lua today (easy integration
with C/C++, low resource consumption, level of abstraction, dynamic),
Erlang should be a more attractive option for many problem domains.
- To reduce the risk of same embedded/other devs. As I said above, Lua
is often chosen because it is a small, lightweight environment, and it
is easy for developers and project managers to try it out on a small
scale before committing large parts of the project's high-level logic
to it. In the case of systems which do not require a small-footprint
VM, this will also give the developers a migration path to full-blown
Erlang (which is where we want them, really :) ).

Do you find this to be sound reasoning, or is the whole idea
superfluous in your opinion?

Alex Arnon.

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