[erlang-questions] Fwd: Is there a good source for documentation on BEAM?

August Schwartzwald <>
Tue May 8 21:46:25 CEST 2012


I've also been looking for information about how Erlang works internally  
for some time now and I found this document very helpful. I'm looking  
forward to the complete version whenever it is done.

If you want comments/feedback on the document I can gladly help with that  
too.

On Mon, 07 May 2012 10:47:26 +0200, Joe Armstrong <> wrote:

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Joe Armstrong <>
> Date: Mon, May 7, 2012 at 10:46 AM
> Subject: Re: [erlang-questions] Is there a good source for
> documentation on BEAM?
> To: Jonathan Coveney <>
>
>
> Hi,
>
> I did start writing a description but it's not very complete.
>
> This is on my list of things-to-do-one-day-when-you-get-time
>
>   See http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4764922/beam.pdf
>
> If there is any interest I could up the priority :-)
>
> /Joe
>
>
> On Mon, May 7, 2012 at 8:39 AM, Jonathan Coveney <>  
> wrote:
>> This question seems to come up now and again, and it's surprising to me  
>> that
>> a crucial part of the documentation isn't better documented. Is there a
>> reason that it is the case? Is the reason that there is no VM spec to  
>> give
>> the devs the flexibility to change the intermediate layer without  
>> having to
>> worry about backwards compatibility to the degree that Java does?
>>
>> Thus far I've found a description of the opcodes:
>> http://azunyanmoe.wordpress.com/2011/03/30/erlang-vm-opcodes/
>>
>> and this resource on the file format:
>> http://www.erlang.se/~bjorn/beam_file_format.html
>>
>> But there doesn't seem to be a lot of high level talk about what the  
>> opcodes
>> do (a la the JVM specification, for example). I know it's not  
>> impossible,
>> and could always ask the guys at Erjang how they went about it, but  
>> thought
>> I'd ask here.
>>
>> Please forgive a newbie question, and thanks in advance
>> Jon
>>
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>> 
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