[erlang-questions] Why Erlang/OTP binaries are available only for Win32 ?

Icarus Alive icarus.alive@REDACTED
Tue Nov 9 06:32:14 CET 2010

Thank you Matthias and others who have responded. Kindly see some
comments inline.

On Mon, Nov 8, 2010 at 1:21 AM, Matthias Lang <matthias@REDACTED> wrote:
> I think you have two choices.
> Either, you install from a package and accept that the version you get
> is not the latest and greatest. But that's pretty usual, e.g. Ubuntu
> 10.10 comes with Perl 5.10.1, not 5.12.2.
That is indeed true, but the feature/bugs delta between 5.12.2 and
5.10.1 (probably so, because haven't actually checked, so this could
only be a matter of perception) doesn't look as "crucial" as the delta
between R10 / R14B, or even R13A / R14B... which was the case for
RHEL5.5 (prior) and Ubuntu 9.10 (latter).

> Or, you install from source.

Of course, but that means I must have the build system setup. This is
not a big inconvenience, but would be so nice to have prebuilt
binaries. My target installation platform was "minimal" server install
in virtualized guests, with a target of keeping disk-space/RAM usage
to a minimum.

I could build on a different machine and then install on target
servers, but it would have been more-convenient if I could avoid the
build stage altogether... especially if figuring out the right build
environment (given the choices and issues with multiple GCC versions),
isn't something I wish to indulge in at the moment.

> Packaging support for the major distributions is not too bad. It could
> be better, but not _that_ much better. Looking at the machines here:
>  Debian unstable, testing and stable: R14A, R14A and R12B, respectively
>  Ubuntu 10.10: R13B03.
> R13B04 would be the best "conservative" choice and R14B the best "must
> have the latest" choice, so they're not far off.
> I don't have any experience with the BSDs, but I think R14B is in the
> ports, so that looks fine too.

Thanks for pointing those out. Looks like I needed to look bit
further/deeper... especially for FreeBSD under "ports" and for

> Anyway, your question was, sort of, "Why do Windows users get binaries
> from erlang.org?". Part of the reason is that they have special needs:
>  - Windows tradition is that you install binaries from vendors
>    (i.e. not from a central repository)
>  - Windows users/developers are generally less capable and willing to
>    compile from source. E.g. most windows systems don't even have a C
>    compiler!
>  - For a long time, building Erlang under Windows was tricky
> There are probably other reasons, possibly related to commercial Erlang.
> What's the problem with installing from source on CentOS?

> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Sunday, November 07, Icarus Alive wrote:
>> wondering as to what is the reason that Erlang/OTP binaries are
>> available only for win32 and not for Linux (and it's variants), BSD
>> etc. ?
>> given the nature of Erlang, it seems a bit unusual that it's binaries
>> are available for a platform that is predominantly a desktop OS, but
>> none for more server-oriented OSs. Of course, making it available on
>> windows, may help a part (possibly large) of the developer community,
>> but when it comes to deploying Erlang applications, user runs into lot
>> of trouble. With the Ubuntu 9.10, after bit struggle I did manage to
>> install Erlang R13, but then on CentOS, the best I can do with
>> EPEL-5.3 is R12, while R14 is already out since Sept-15th. Searching
>> through sugestions or how-to's, on installing Erlang on CentOS, it's
>> amazing to find how much trouble it can be, even building it from
>> source.
>> So, is it only because there hasn't been a maintainer who is available
>> for packages on these other OSs, which BTW is quite understandable, or
>> there is something more to it ?
>> Awareness about Erlang is growing, and it's popularity is rising,
>> however the speed of adoption may grow much more, if getting Erlang on
>> Linux.
>> cheers,
>> Icarus.
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