[erlang-questions] Never let it fail!

David Hopwood david.nospam.hopwood@REDACTED
Wed Nov 22 16:08:04 CET 2006

Jay Nelson wrote:
> Here is an alternative to the "let it fail" philosophy.  They take the 
> opposite tack.
> http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/wcook/Drafts/2006/RinardOOPSLA06.pdf
> This was presented at OOPSLA 2006.

Their tack isn't opposite. However, I don't find their arguments convincing.
I think their observations are too dependent on the behaviour of poorly
written C programs.

In particular, they consider the effect of ignoring bounds checking
failures relative to terminating a program, but only for existing programs
that were developed without any form of bounds checking. They don't consider
whether developing software in a language where bounds errors (for example)
are reported immediately would have prevented most of those bugs from being
present in the released software.

Also, they compare their approach only to termination of the entire program
on failure; not to Erlang-style supervision hierarchies (or even to exceptions!)

With regard to memory leaks, what they are suggesting is obviously strictly
inferior to automatic garbage collection.

David Hopwood <david.nospam.hopwood@REDACTED>

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