[erlang-questions] Attracting Functional Programmers

Joe Armstrong <>
Sun Oct 7 12:06:01 CEST 2007

I think we have to answer the question:

    "what is the compelling reason to use Erlang?"

Its not ('cos it's FP)

The  2 second pitch which I used at JAOO was

Erlang = Parallel programming without pain

I'm not sure if this is best - it could be

Fault-tolerant ptogramming without pain or

Multicore programming wthout pain

I hope this answers the question


On 10/7/07, David Welton <> wrote:
> On 10/6/07, G Bulmer <> wrote:
> > During the CUFP workshop, people talked about attracting developers
> > to FP.
> > The Haskell web site was compared to the Python (I think) web site.
> > I believe the pitch for Haskell was much weaker than the Python pitch.
> >
> > I took a stab at a few 'marketing' statements for Haskell. My
> > intention is to stimulate debate because I do feel there are
> > unnecessary barriers to recruitment. I do not expect my suggestion to
> > survive :-)
> >
> > You may want to take a look at http://groups.google.com/group/cufp/
> > topics
> > I am G B-)
> I think it's a fascinating subject.  If you don't mind my trying to
> foist off some of my own work on you, I've written about it a little
> bit.
> http://www.welton.it/articles/programming_language_economics.html
> My take is that if you introduce a new language, and you don't have
> millions of dollars to push it (Java, C#), you're going to have to
> find some niche, and do it an order of magnitude better than the
> competition.  Something that's not just an incremental improvement,
> but a clearly superior way of doing things, where "things" means
> something that matters to your average industry programmer.
> To my way of thinking, this would explain why Erlang is getting a lot
> of attention from people these days - it does concurrency really well.
>  That one thing, which is seen as increasingly important in a
> multi-core future, is enough for people to pick up Erlang and look at
> it.  In the past, Tk was enough to get people interested in Tcl, the
> promise of very easy dynamic web pages got people interested in PHP,
> Ruby on Rails got people interested in Ruby, and so on.  Of course,
> that's not the only way languages grow in popularity - Python
> gradually built up a following by being simple, clean and practical
> for a wide variety of tasks.  It does seem to help a lot though - if
> you get that "killer app", people will, at least for a while, ignore
> other shortcomings in a language, which is crucial, because it's very
> likely that a newcomer won't have huge libraries, books, user groups
> and some of the other positive externalities that come with
> popularity.
> --
> David N. Welton
> http://www.welton.it/davidw/
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