[erlang-questions] The future of Erlang and BEAM

Miles Fidelman mfidelman@REDACTED
Sat Feb 11 14:41:36 CET 2012

Radek wrote:
> But after "wow effect" has gone, I discovered that there are many high 
> performance Java libraries that seem to resolve many problems that 
> Erlang is theoretically best suited for (real-time, low-latency 
> applications, concurrency, fault-tolerance, etc.). Moreover, it seems 
> that there are things that, despite Erlang profile, are just not 
> possible to achieve on BEAM (like LMAX Disruptor concurrent framework).
> So the question arises: is Erlang still the best platform to build 
> such demanding applications ? Wouldn't it be better if we stick to 
> one, very mature (J)VM and try to make it even better than trying to 
> achieve something similar with less resources available (size of OTP 
> team vs. JVM team, supporters, etc) ? And is it possible at all to 
> achieve this kind of performance and adoption with BEAM ?
Two observations, from someone who has just started a migration to 
Erlang - in service of a project with massive concurrency at its core:

1. Erlang and Java start from very different programming perspectives.  
As far as I can tell, Erlang is still the only environment designed, 
from day one, to support massive concurrency (processes as fundamental 
vs. objects as fundamental).

2. Erlang is about 10 years older than Java, and used for building 
production systems from its inception.  There's a lot more real-world 
experience packed into Erlang and OTP - particularly where massive 
concurrency is concerned.

Seems to me that Erlang is far more mature than Java for the kinds of 
problems and environments that are now emerging.

Now one might argue that there's a good academic exercise in writing yet 
another new language, that learns from the lessons of Erlang, and maybe 
cleans up some of the more obscure syntax, but such an exercise would 
take a long time before yielding any kind of mature platform.

Miles Fidelman

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
In practice, there is.   .... Yogi Berra

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