wild and crazy idea?

Ryan Rawson <>
Fri Feb 17 00:09:12 CET 2006

I actually disagree here.  I think the cool thing about Erlang is that
lightweight and isolated processes are _part_ of the language.  That
sending a message is a language construct and a basic part of the
language, not a bolt on.  Another important effect is the functional
nature of the language.  A major reason why I'm using Erlang is the
pure functional nature.  I believe this will naturally lead to less
bugs, as most common bugs come from constructs which are impossible or
difficult to write in Erlang (loops on arrays for example).

I'd also like to point out that "syntactic sugar" is not merely sweet,
but it can be an essential feature of the language.  For example, list
comprehensions - nothing that can't be done with recursion and
lambdas, thus strictly its syntactic sugar.  But what they give you is
the ability to more concisely talk about your ideas.  Why did Java add
foreach, why does C# also have foreach?  The ability to express the
pure concept instead of bogus things about iterators, and the like. 
No, the important thing is to do something for each item of a list. 
Foreach is merely on the path to list comprehensions :-)

Plus I'd miss the live code upgrades.


On 2/16/06, Vlad Dumitrescu <> wrote:
> Hello,
> Reading about Felix' fthreads I got this Wild And Crazy (tm) idea. After
> giving it some thought, it can't really be new (but if it is, I hereby claim
> full worldwide rights ;-) so if anyone has any pointer to further reading,
> I'll appreciate the feedback.
> The main question is one that nobody on this list should fail to answer
> right: what is the main thing that makes Erlang special?
> Of course, it is the stuff that earned Dr. Joe his title (so to speak): the
> lightweight & isolated processes framework and the monitoring and
> distribution mechanisms. For the purpose of this discussion, I claim that
> the rest is just syntactic sugar.
> Now to my idea:
> *    would it be possible to separate these most important features from the
> actual language implementation?
> *    is it possible to create such a generic framework, where one could plug
> in different virtual machines to execute the actual code, and offer all of
> them the same services that today only the beam vm enjoys?
> Is anything like this already out there? Well, some parts of it are, like
> PVM or MPI, but those have a different niche to fill and don't cover all the
> ground (or so I gather, at least, please set me straight if I'm wrong)
> What do you think?
> best regards,
> Vlad

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