[erlang-questions] clarify: Ericsson Erlang vision/strategy

Ulf Wiger (TN/EAB) <>
Tue Dec 11 18:13:04 CET 2007

Some of your questions can't readily be answered, since it
would mean revealing proprietary information.
I will try to give you some hints.

Andreas Hillqvist skrev:
> As far as I know, currently Ericsson maintain and develops
 > Erlang/OTP. They have employee professional people that get
 > payed to maintain and develops Erlang/OTP.
> But is there a risk that Erlang/OTP will be drooped in the
 > future?

Ericsson has a considerable number of Erlang-based products
in commercial operation, and these products have a considerable
life span. "Dropping" Erlang (as in suddenly), is pretty much
out of the question. You would notice it years in advance as
a move of Erlang into "maintenance mode" first.

> If Ericsson's would drooped Erlang would the Erlang community
 > sustain the quality of maintains and development of Erlang/OTP?

Considering the above, I'd say it's a hypothetical question.

As long as Erlang is going strong, and is evidently one of the
hottest technologies for multi-core architectures, it is likely
to have a vibrant user community - but this also makes it less
likely that Ericsson would "drop it". If the Open Source
community stagnates, Ericsson is more likely to move away from
Erlang, and the community would then also be ill equipped to
maintain it at the current level.

> The reason why I am asking this is because of Jimmy Nilsson's blog.
>     Jimmy Nilsson's blog - Erlang, take 2
>     (http://jimmynilsson.com/blog/posts/Erlang.htm)
>     "... since even Ericsson, the company where Erlang was developed,
>      decided to go another route after a while."

This is not really a correct account. There was never any question
of Ericsson moving to replace mainstream tools wholesale with
Erlang. Ericsson did start two large development projects using
Erlang in the mid 90s. Both products are still being developed and
sold, and other products have been developed using Erlang since.

Ericsson also advertises the use of Erlang at

Ericsson also sponsors the ProTEST EU project, which is very
much based on Erlang technology. This project will run for
about three years.

(John, your slides don't come across very well as PDF.)

> I have also heard the story/rumor of the management at Ericsson
 > baned the use of Erlang in new products. But dose this apply today?

It is a documented fact that Erlang was banned for new product
development within a part of Ericsson. This was 9 years ago.
I know of very few technology choices that are considered
relevant 9 years after the fact.

> Has not Erlang/OTP been part of Ericsson's success for core
 > network products, outperforming competitors?

I believe so.

> Telecom is moving towards Long Term Evolution(LTE), where an aimed to
> is to be an all-IP network.
> How dose an Erlang/OTP IP switching product stack up against Cisco C++
> (or what they are using) product?

I'm sorry, but that question would have to be put through Ericsson's
sales channels. I'm sure they would like to tell you how our products
compare to Cisco's, if you're a prospective customer. ;-)

> Is Erlang/OTP the natural/best choice to develop core network 
 > products for LTE or will Ericsson have to adapt and move away
 > from Erlang?

There are a lot of factors that weigh in on technology choices.
One of them is of course existing market share. LTE represents
a change in network topology, and any vendor will of course want
to look at whether existing products should be adapted to a new
standard or replaced with a new product. The word "evolution" is
significant here, I believe. Most of the products using Erlang
within Ericsson will not be affected by LTE at all.

Ulf W

More information about the erlang-questions mailing list