[erlang-questions] Why is Erlang what it is?

Richard Carlsson richardc@REDACTED
Wed Dec 13 16:39:16 CET 2006

Kirill Zaborski wrote:
> Yeah, I know about the dialyzer. But are there any reasons why static 
> typing is dead?
> Are there any papers why it was declined? Or maybe should I send an 
> email to Philip Wadler?

No papers. (Papers typically only describe the things that worked...)
The reason is that static type systems are difficult to match to the
existing Erlang code base, without forcing *major* rewrites of a lot
of code in order to get it through the type checker. Few users are
interested in paying that price, and also be restricted in their style
of programming for future code. It would essentially be a new language.

If you start with a statically typed language, you learn to live with
the restrictions (Haskell, ML, ...), but if you already have Erlang,
Scheme, or Lisp, adding static type checking is like hammering a
square peg through a round hole.


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