[erlang-questions] benchmarks game harsh criticism

David Hopwood <>
Mon Nov 26 18:25:22 CET 2007

Joe Armstrong wrote:
> I've been following various discussions about benchmarks, and must say
> that I am not impressed.
> The general arguments seems to go like this:
>     language A is good at X
>     language B is good at Y
>     language B is bad at X
>    Therefore hack language B so that it is good at X
>     This argument has appeared many times with different values of A B
> X and Y - usually by a proponent of A who because A solves X better than
> B assumes that A is in some sense better than B.
>      The problem is that this argument is just plain daft.

No it's not, in general. It has to be considered on a case-by-case basis,
depending on:

 - *how* bad at X language B actually is;
 - how difficult it is to hack language B to be good at X;
 - whether anyone cares enough to do the required work;
 - whether changing language B to do X would introduce too much
   complexity or other disadvantages that would affect its use in
   other areas.

As for the 'shootout', most of the criticisms of it in this thread have
been valid; it's not a very good basis for comparison of language

David Hopwood

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