[erlang-questions] Forget Erlang on the Java VM. More language on the Erlang VM are needed!

Michael Regen <>
Wed Nov 28 15:35:32 CET 2007


Joel, Torbjorn,

Maybe we are talking about two different things: Technical advantages and
pushing Erlang.

You have certainly a much better understanding of Erlang's internals. Since
I lack most of them I probably cannot decide how difficult it would be to
have the same functionality Erlang offers today under another VM. True.

On the other side: Please correct me if I am wrong but I thought that e.g.
Scala Actors manages to get quite good performance figures for lighweight
processes and message passing under another VM - in this case the JVM. But
maybe I am comparing apples with oranges here!?

If really most of the benefits come with the Erlang VM or the disadvantages
of using another VM are simply too big, then of course my arguments are
void.

My main point is simply: How do I sell Erlang to a typical decision maker in
the finance and telecom industry. And I do not mean people who decide on the
OS used in an ATM switch but the ones who are responsible for all the back
office server software. Java is _the_ big player here. And although we all
know the meaning of the 'T' in OTP and know that Erlang could help so much
here, it is not known much and used much less.

So where does it come from that people are not deciding in favor of it?
My experience (a bit overdrawn and simplified) is that the typical CIO will
not think in terms of 'what is the best tool?' but 'what is the best tool
for which I will not get fired'. For a CIO thinking out of the box can be
dangerous: If everything works, you did your job. If not, you will be blamed
for deciding against industry standards. Causing a big bias in favor of
industry standards.

Therefore I can see huge advantages if Erlang would run under the industry
standard JVM. Maybe no technical advantages - besides possibly easier Java
integration. Maybe even some disadvantages. But for me it makes a difference
if I can sell my Erlang solutions or just go over to the next pitch. So, the
question for me is rather be what would we lose with another VM.

Cheers,
Michael
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