[erlang-questions] The Beauty of Erlang Syntax

John Hughes <>
Wed Feb 25 08:38:04 CET 2009


> From: "Michael T. Richter" <>

> I'd laugh at anybody who suggested I
> write device drivers or certain categories of embedded code in Erlang or
> Haskell over C/C++ in the same way that I'd laugh at someone who
> suggested I hand-roll data storage in C++ or Java instead of using SQL.
> There are times when the stateful approach is not only right, but
> necessary.  Like, say, when you're dealing with a problem domain that
> has states.  (You know, like registers in a peripheral device.)

Funnily enough, there are people doing precisely this--Mark Jones gave a 
superb talk about it at ICFP last year.

A Principled Approach to Operating System Construction in Haskell
http://web.cecs.pdx.edu/~apt/icfp05.pdf

Writing Systems Software in a Functional Language: An Experience Report
http://web.cecs.pdx.edu/~mpj/pubs/plos07.html

Although this is still experimental, rather than production quality 
code--from the latter paper:

"We do not know, for example, if the House kernel can be tuned or enhanced 
to provide reason-
able throughput with the workload of a conventional desktop or server, or if 
its network interface
can keep pace with line speed on a standard Ethernet connection. Although it 
may be possible to
achieve these kinds of performance goals especially, in the long term, if we 
can rely on aggressive,
whole program optimization, it is unlikely that they will be met with 
current Haskell systems."

Still interesting work though, and shows that, from an expressiveness point 
of view, writing system
software in a functional language is no particular problem.

John 




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