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

Ulf Wiger ulf@REDACTED
Wed Dec 13 21:48:32 CET 2006

Den 2006-12-13 20:15:17 skrev Kirill Zaborski <qrilka@REDACTED>:

> OK, so now meaningful reply from Erlang people (I see
> that it's dead but I have no idea why)

I'm not quite sure what answer would satisfy you, but
my own take on why is that none of the attempts at
creating a static type system for Erlang were able to
attract enough users to become interesting in practice.

Personally, I tried to retrofit one of the type systems
onto the AXD 301 source code, but found that it would be
far too much work - just like Richard said. As one of the
biggest users, of Erlang, the AXD 301 project alone would
most likely have been able to push static typing into the
language at some point in time. We even had a requirement,
and the wish, to see a type system in Erlang, but never
saw something that we could actually use, until Dialyzer
came along. Dialyzer works beautifully in our environment,
and gives us many of the benefits of a static type system,
with none of the retrofitting pains that we had experienced
with the static type systems attempted for Erlang in the

The simple reason why Dialyzer _did_ become successful
was that it _did_ attract Erlang users.

You suggest that static typing was "rejected", but there
is no formal acceptance or rejection process for Erlang.
If it had proven useful and enough people had started
using it, static typing might have made it into Erlang.

> So I'll email Mr. Wadler direct it would be much
> easier (at least I hope so)

By all means. I'm sure Mr. Wadler can give you interesting
insight into his own work to create a type system for

Ulf W
Ulf Wiger

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