question about Erlang's future

Joe Armstrong (AL/EAB) <>
Thu Jul 6 10:17:07 CEST 2006


Have you ever noted where my email's come from :-) 

My thesis was penned in 2003.

Let's write the continuation:

In 2004 I rejoined Ericsson, after 6 years, 
working in start-ups and research.

Had things changed?  - Yes 

Had the ban (which caused us to leave) worked? - No.

"Was Erlang still banned?" - I asked, 
"Don't ask, just use it", they said

			- o O o -

Once upon a time, when I was a kid, we had 
problems.

"Hello Huston we have a problem" - Erlang is banned

Then "problems" became "issues" 

<< in about 1999, please, correct me here,
I was gobsmacked - suddenly a perfectly good word
totally vanished from the language - did you ever 
hear a politician use the word !"problem" after 1999=? >>

Issues were pretty stable, for several years, but then
suddenly, (two years ago?) "issues" became "challenges" 

Challenges were short lived (lasted about a year)
and rapidly became "opportunities"

So we have

	problem -> issue
	issue -> challenge
	challenge -> opportunity 
	
So the problem we had in 1998 is now a wonderful
opportunity "moving forward".


 			- o O o - 

> 
> What does this mean for Erlang's future? Has Ericsson 
> abandoned Erlang development besides periodic maintenance or 
> will Ericsson push Erlang in new directions? Where is Erlang heading?
> 

Let's try to answer this:
 
Ericsson has no corporate policy, regarding Erlang.

Corporate policy is way more abstract than talking about individual
technologies - nobody in above middle management knows how a phone
works.

Policy is all about "providing shareholder value, and moving forward,
etc."

So there is no policy about Erlang.

Where are we heading etc. - silly question - nobody knows.

It's like this:
	
	- We (Ericsson) have a number of products
	  written in Erlang - these earn stuff called MONEY

	- We (and this includes me) are developing
	  "secret-project-number-1" and "secret-project-number-2" etc.
	  these we hope will one day earn MONEY

	- If 
		the sum total of MONEY earnt is >> 0 
	  and
		we win some internal wars
	  then
		We will do a lot more than periodic maintenance,
		and will actively develop and exploit what the
		technology
	  Fi

Now it is my belief that multi-core Erlang etc. will give us
just the edge we need so that our "secret-project-number-1" will
be orders of magnitude faster than other peoples
"secret-project-number-1"
 
Will this earn money? - who knows?

Will a competitor produce a better product using Haskell, or Java? - who
knows?

Will we win our wars? - who knows?

The only statement I can make is that, I and the other Ericsson
people who post to this list believe in what we are doing - and as
long as they pay our wages and let us work on the stuff we believe in
then we will work to support and improve the system.

I have quit once, and I will quit again if this ceases to be true.

/Joe





> -----Original Message-----
> From:  
> [mailto:] On Behalf Of Yariv Sadan
> Sent: den 5 juli 2006 18:53
> To: Erlang Questions
> Subject: question about Erlang's future
> 
> Hi,
> 
> I read Joe Armstrong's PhD thesis. It's a great read for 
> everybody who's learning Erlang.
> 
> One passage that stood out to me was the following:
> 
> "In February 1998 Erlang was banned for new product 
> development wit hin Ericsson - the main reason for the ban 
> was that Ericsson wanted to be a consumer of software 
> technologies rather than a producer.
> In December 1998 Erlang and the OTP libraries were released 
> subject to an Open Source License. Since that date it has 
> been freely available for download from http://www.erlang.org/.
> 
> In 1998 I left Ericsson together with a number of the 
> original Erlang group to found a new company Bluetail AB-in 
> all 15 people left Ericsson. The idea behind Bluet ail was to 
> use the Erlang technology to program products which make 
> Internet services more reliable. "
> 
> 
> What does this mean for Erlang's future? Has Ericsson 
> abandoned Erlang development besides periodic maintenance or 
> will Ericsson push Erlang in new directions? Where is Erlang heading?
> 
> Regards,
> Yariv
> 



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