[erlang-questions] OT: Programming Language Selection as a Business Strategy

Thomas Lindgren <>
Mon Apr 16 09:47:15 CEST 2007


--- jm <> wrote:

> Thomas Lindgren wrote:
> > There are some papers on related issues: Gabriel's
> > Worse is Better (and variations) and Paul Graham's
> > Beating the Averages. As far as I can tell, the
> > arguments employed are usually "common sense"
> rather
> > than quantified. Part of it would seem to be the
> same
> > decision as buying some other product to use (a
> > long-lived piece of machinery, say) or deciding to
> > follow a standard of some sort. Non-linguistic
> > considerations will then be important.
> 
> I've read Graham's essay before and I'll obviously
> have to dig it up
> again. I haven't heard of Gabriel's so I'm trying to
> find that as I
> write this.

Here it is (along with some follow-ons):
http://www.dreamsongs.com/WorseIsBetter.html

> We may see more on this in the future. I'm just
> suprised at the lack of
> academic research given all the noise in some
> circles. 

As far as I know, there hasn't even been a proper
comparison between modern versions of static and
dynamic typing, much less fullblown languages... The
development of Erlang is actually a fairly
conscientous example of evaluating a big make-vs-buy
choice, though. (Or so it seems to me.)

> the
> people from the business
> studies side are more interest in management
> research and may consider
> computer language matters to low level for
> consideration using what ever
> language everone else happens to be using not
> realising the flow on
> effects of such a choice. As such real options would
> be an idea tool for
> uncovering the effects such a choice has.

Yes, they might be. Also, it seems to me that these
technology decisions might be made too conservatively,
which (perhaps severely) undervalues some languages.
Ulf brings up lots of hurdles to clear for the new
language (or language eco system), so of course there
are good reasons to stick with the mainstream choice
too. But if they are making detectably bad decisions
which can be corrected, the business guys should perk
up.

Actually, when I think about it, this whole thing
raises lots of interesting little side issues.

Best,
Thomas


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