[erlang-questions] We need a better marketing division :-)

Jerome Martin jxm@REDACTED
Wed Jan 12 10:55:38 CET 2011

Hi everyone!

I am really new to the Erlang world, just finished reading the Programming
Erlang Book and Joe Armstrong thesis, probably still having done less than
500 LOCs in Erlang. So as coming straight from the "outside world" I figured
I must be your average sample victim of "languages marketing". So here is
what :

1) I am working on an application aiming to provide high availability (nodes
failover mostly), multinode provisioning facilities and a unified
administrative view of a cluster of nodes. I already have a reference
implementation, and tried to leverage as many OSS tools already written (do
not reinvent the wheel), but came to the conclusion (skipping the details)
that for my needs rewriting a membership and communications layer was

2) After the first reference implementation, including both HA logic and
distributed algorithms (think distributed min. weight spanning tree, etc.)
went on the internet looking for how other people approach the various
questions/uncertainties about critical design points:
- IPC communications (currently using synchronous RPC-ish for my real time,
user-interactive nodes configuration needs, but GHS class algorithms
actually fare better with messages queues).
- Error handling (currently encapsulate remote exceptions in a special
exception class that allows RPC callers to access it)
- Scalability (This is a hard one)
- Concurrent data access (started in a nothing-shared fashion, converted for
efficiency and perfs to locked and shared structures, now seing that this is
a dead end).

So bottom-line, I spent the time to experiment end "re-discover" possible
mistakes and implementation issues. Then looked on the internet how others
handle that, using the keywords matching the topics above, reading articles,
watching presentations and skimming blogs and found either:
- Claims of silver bullet (makes me run away as fast as I can), usually
nicely marketed.
- Very interesting but lab-only theory, usually nicely marketed too.
- Flawed approaches, claiming many things but apparently ignoring decades of
CS research (are people actually reading papers in CS anymore ?), but using
"industry standard" companion techs as a justification (as in bad OO, etc.)

The only approach that was pragmatic, seemed to works and was coherent
(despite raising questions and obviously not being a silver bullet) that
I've found is Erlang. I would be very interested in understanding what kind
of approach leads one to pick an other solution (apart from writing one's
own), methodology or set of tools for a down-to-earth project.

So yes, marketing is _not_ Erlang strength. But maybe this is what makes
people like me (BTW, a long-time debian-only user for that matter ;-) ) not
run away at first glance :-) And TBH, I think that people having done enough
research on their own to understand what Erlang solves do not need
marketing, and that the other are probably just not worth worrying about, *let
them use caffeinated-paradigmed languages and platforms in a pool of
quicksand-filled industry standards and hope that natural selection will
provide us with a better species of CS/IT "professionals"*, one that at
least caught up with the problems solved 2 or 3 decades ago :-)

On Wed, Jan 12, 2011 at 8:22 AM, Muharem Hrnjadovic <muharem@REDACTED> wrote:

> On 01/11/2011 06:32 PM, Robert Virding wrote:
> > http://lambda-the-ultimate.org/node/4178
> >
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > erlang-questions (at) erlang.org mailing list.
> > See http://www.erlang.org/faq.html
> > To unsubscribe; mailto:erlang-questions-unsubscribe@REDACTED
> Erlang definitely needs more and better marketing. The research grant
> the scala crowd won [1] is supposed to tackle the "Popular Parallel
> Programming" challenge.
> The first question in my mind after reading [1] was: "Have these good
> folks never heard of erlang?" Apparently not, or not enough.
> In a sense erlang is reminiscent of the debian linux distribution: it's
> rock solid, proven and works well for almost all work loads.  However,
> all the excitement and the hype is on the cool new(?) kids that fork off
> debian (e.g. ubuntu).
> [1] http://www.scala-lang.org/node/8579
> Best regards/Mit freundlichen Grüßen
> --
> Muharem Hrnjadovic <muharem@REDACTED>
> Public key id   : B2BBFCFC
> Key fingerprint : A5A3 CC67 2B87 D641 103F  5602 219F 6B60 B2BB FCFC

Jérôme Martin

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