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

Siraaj Khandkar <>
Mon Oct 22 18:45:08 CEST 2012

On Oct 22, 2012, at 11:59 AM, Loïc Hoguin wrote:

> On 10/22/2012 05:40 PM, Siraaj Khandkar wrote:
>> English doesn't seem to hurt OCaml's popularity in France. Am I mistaken? Yes,
>> there's French documentation, as there're books on Erlang in different
>> languages. But code is a different matter.
> Ocaml isn't a popular commercial programming language in France. I'm sure it has its userbase, but most of the people who do learn it at University/School end up not using it in the end. I'm in that group.
>> It seems most papers published by INRIA are in English as well. What gives?
>> http://hal.inria.fr/index.php?langue=fr&action_todo=browse&b_type=browse_domain
> A quick glance shows papers both in English and French. But they're *papers*, something most programmers never did. Most programmers never even read a paper.
> Many programmers only have 2 years of post-graduate education. They learnt how to do things in Java. They learnt the basic building blocks of computers. And they don't need research papers or English to do their jobs.
> You'll probably wonder why we would want "inferior" developers to learn Erlang? Because there's a lot of tasks that are too boring for you to write and that they'd gladly do, as long as they're going home at 5 o clock.
> But here even the 5 years people have trouble with English, the talented less than the others I suppose, but the talented people are the minority.

That is not the sort of thing I had in mind at all. I am in no position to be
making these kind of judgements.

My point with papers is that INRIA is a French national institution, so one
would think it'd be very heavily biased towards using French everywhere. Yet it
is not the case. Why? My understanding is that it is to widen the communication
circle. Though incidental, English has become the lingua franca of computing
(yes, a little pun is intended :))

One of my interests is (or perhaps was) Archaeology, and in that field one is
required to have a reading/writing proficiency in French or German in order to
proceed with graduate studies, simply because (although incidental) those are
the languages that a large body of important research has been published in.

It would probably be best if we all could use Esperanto (or something like
that) as a second language to communicate internationally, but other, more
practical, options have already emerged organically. Not ideal, but practical.

I don't really have a strong final opinion on Unicode in source code yet, but I
do have strong concerns about potential increase of opportunities to make

Though Fred is right to point out that this doesn't seem to have hurt other
languages, I mostly side with Yurii's argument that there are other, much more
important issues/features to tackle, amongst others: frames and native data
types for pmods (I don't actually use those in Erlang, but I do enjoy a related
feature in OCaml (though it's benefits in that context are different...)).

Siraaj Khandkar

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