[erlang-questions] Erlang is the best choice for building commercial application servers

Joe Armstrong <>
Tue Mar 13 11:18:57 CET 2012


Hang on - java is not just a programming language it's an entire industry.
Erlang is not an industry it's a programming language.

I hope software Darwinism will prevail. All other things being equal a
company that
bets on Erlang will get to market before a company that bets on Java. The former
will gain commerical advantage by doing do.

Of course, all things are not equal so this may of may not happen in practice.

On average companies that bet on the wrong technology should
eventually go bankrupt,
company that bet right should prosper.

There seems to be a lot more Erlang work going on under-the-radar than
is commonly realized
but since this involves a real commercial advantage to the guys using
Erlang they are often
reluctant to talk about it. Companies talk openly about the stuff that
everybody knows - they don't talk about the stuff that gives them a
commercial advantage.

In the Erlang world wo things happen:

   - drip drip drip
   - splash

drip drip drip is the steady relentless addition of new programmers
who "get it" - gains
are made one-at-a-time- but year on year the numbers grow and grow and grow.

Splash happens every few years - it's mochiweb, its couchDB, it's klarna.

In the years when there is no splash - we think "oh dear nothing is
happening" then comes splash and we get all excited. But something is
happening and we don't notice, it's drip drip drip.

You don't notice a bucket that's slowly filling with water, but you do
notice it when it spills over.

I get excited when I sigh a copy of my book and meet some young guy
who is starting
off from zero - and I think - "this guy might use Erlang to invent
something really fantastic .."
now that is way cool - that is the the drip drip drip that excites me.
Changing how people think
will eventually change how they behave, but it may take a while.

Computer science grows in drips and splashes - connecting hypertext
and networking
was obvious "after the event" after Tim Berners Lee made the
connection, but not before.

So my philosophy is to get my watering can out and water my plants in
the hope that
they will become big and strong and provide us with wholesome food ...

Cheers

/Joe



On Sun, Mar 11, 2012 at 6:09 PM, Shahrdad Shadab <> wrote:
> When I was learning Erlang and understanding its capabilities I really
> cannot find a satisfactory answer to the question that
> why in North America companies like former BEA, former Sun, Oracle , ... use
> Java to build commercial application servers instead of Erlang?
> From technical perspective such decision doesn't make any sense to me for
> following reasons:
>
> _Java is not a fault tolerant.
> _Java performance is nowhere near Erlang.
> _Concurrent programming in Java is a pain.
> _J2ee Technology introduced as add on to java to make communication cross
> servers possible (i.e web services  XML SCHEMA, WSDL) is unreasonably and
> grotesquely complicated. (This complication  is dictated by the technology
> and not by the problem domain)
> _Java is not distributed language (No asynch communication is possible
> without JMS, also RMI stub solution is more complicated than it should be).
>
> and many more reasons I can list here.
>
> Thanks in advance
> Shahrdad
> --
> Software Architect & Computer Scientist
>
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> 
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