[erlang-questions] Message Receive Semantics (was eep: Multiple Patterns)

Ulf Wiger <>
Sat May 31 07:59:56 CEST 2008

2008/5/31 Jay Nelson <>:

> Check out the following tutorial on my website.  It discusses the issues
> related to the message queue.  Ulf doesn't like my conclusions because
> they don't encourage power users, but the vast majority of message
> handling situations are not as sophisticated as what his group deals
> with.
> http://www.duomark.com/erlang/briefings/euc2006/index.html

I like your conclusions, Jay. (:

I've been on a crusade about selective receive for a few years,
since it dawned on me that the vast majority of people building
complex soft-real-time systems had no basic understanding
of the problem, and kept hitting the complexity wall, and /still/
didn't know what had hit them.

It took me a while to figure it out myself, and when I did I
looked around for teaching material or books that explain
it, but found basically nothing. *

I agree that the vast majority of processes do not have this
problem, but I think that it should be part of everyone's
repertoire to realize that it /can/ happen, and roughly under
which circumstances.

Ulf W

* In 2002, I had the opportunity to run my thoughts by Simon
Peyton-Jones. He was severely jetlagged and looked like
he was going to doze off while I explained it to him. Then
he quickly confirmed that it was "obvious" (that it would get
you into trouble) and "not a well known problem", before
excusing himself in order to hit the sack.

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