[erlang-questions] Report from OSCON

Patrick D. Logan <>
Thu Jul 26 08:58:45 CEST 2007

I am at OSCON 2007 in Portland, Oregon. Here's a quick report...

Erlang BOF -- I hosted a 1 hour BOF session on Monday night. Mainly with the book, and all, I wondered who and how many might show up for such a thing, especially on the first night of tutorials and not a main conference night.

About 20 people turned up, significantly more than I had estimated. I only had one co-worker there so I did not inflate the number with friends or anything. 

A few had tried Erlang at least once. Everyone was interested as a beginner to understand something about it.

So I spent the hour with erl and some files in emacs, 30 min. on sequential stuff and 30 min. on concurrency. Given questions, etc. the sequential part touched on basic data types, esp. lists and just a bit on tuples. Nothing about records.

Most of the sequential section I spent on single-assignment, pattern matching, and pattern clauses to define funtions. A bit on tail recursion, esp. in the absence of imperative assignment and iteration statements.

The concurrency section I spent on simple spawning, asynchronous send, pattern-matching clauses to receive, and piecing together an rpc.

It seemed to go over well at the time, and I've talked with a few people since and they confirmed that too.

The new book -- Joe Armstrong's book is getting a lot of attention. First people at the BOF knew of it and I had it on hand to recommend. It is also for sale at the O'Reilly / Powells.com on-site book "store" in the main hallway.

On the vendor exhibit floor the Pragmatic Programmer's booth has the Erlang book cover as a big banner taking up the back wall of their booth. So pretty good visibility there.

One additional observation -- Simon Peyton Jones of the Haskell world gave a 15 minute keynote on "software transactional memory". My opinion is most of the programmers there would benefit more from Erlang's shared-nothing asynchronous message passing. Getting Joe Armstrong or someone to do a keynote on *that* next year would be something.

Also given the number of curious beginners at the BOF an additional event next year would seem to be a half-day tutorial on Erlang. Again Simon PJ did this for Haskell, so every reason to think it would work for Erlang next time.

I'm going to check in with the publisher's booth this week to see how the book is being received.

Finally -- a friend from another publishing company said something based on erlang would be interesting to him, so if anyone has ideas I can pass his contact information along.

More information about the erlang-questions mailing list