[erlang-questions] A proposal for Unicode variable and atom names in Erlang.

Vlad Dumitrescu <>
Fri Oct 19 16:06:02 CEST 2012

On Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 8:06 AM, Richard O'Keefe <> wrote:
> If it were still possible to submit EEPs in plain text,
> this would be an EEP.

Great initiative, Richard! A formal definition of what is to be
expected is the best way to eliminate misunderstandings. Even if it's
not going to be an EEP, it's a solid base for discussion.

However, I have some second thoughts about this... Does anyone has an
example of a project that is not a toy or private, in any language
that allows unicode identifiers (Java, Ruby, etc), that actually uses
any of those? There are issues with interoperability in a multi-script
environment. Today, Erlang identifiers are Latin-1, but the only times
I've seen using non-ASCII characters they had been entered by mistake.

It would be wasteful to spend a lot of work and time [*] for features
that very people might use, and then they won't be able to cooperate
with most of the other Erlang developers. Erlang is known as a
pragmatic language, maybe there is a pragmatic line to be drawn here
too. If it shows that only few people will use unicode outside
comments, strings and binary literals, then maybe it's not such a big
deal to have a rule to always enclose unicode atoms in simple quotes
and have unicode variables start with an underscore...

Or maybe it is, and then I say to those that are affected: please let us know.

best regards,

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