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

Henning Diedrich <>
Fri Oct 26 05:28:08 CEST 2012

Hi Richard!

On Oct 26, 2012, at 4:51 AM, "Richard O'Keefe" <> wrote:

> By what feat of straining do people accept the possibility of
> Malay in Erlang atoms and variable names but reject the possibility
> of Māori?  Accept Italian but reject Latin?

I am happy to learn atoms could be using Umlauts and I will be working very hard to keep myself from using that /in code/.

The first reason being that it is likely to break something outside of Erlang. As mentioned.

The second, new one, that sadly it is too complicated for me to make sure that I'll never have a Latin-1-Unicode trip-up somewhere in my IDEs or tool chains and then all Umlauts suddenly will have been broken, transcoded into something else.

For that reason I have regretted using Umlauts /in comments/ too many times. Someone in a project always breaks it and then nobody cares, there's no time, and it creates pseudo-diffs. 

As a third (true) horror I'll add Ulf's pseudo-whitespace experience to the list. I am in agony already over the days lost in the future due to someone inserting a Unicode look-alike into code that I cannot spot until I re-type the entire seemingly cursed code that-should-work-but-magically-doesn't. And have hex-view ready at my finger tips again to inspect awkward code. Thanks so much for the nightmare.

The possibility, thus, appears worthless to this non-English speaker. And for that, my thinking goes why extend the possibilityt and make it more, yes, 'dangerous'. 

I appreciate it's a done deal (horse, milk etc). And most of all that there are different circumstances, e.g. in academia obviously.

As an aside, I think I still don't believe what I understood there though: that a programming language could be banned on grounds of political incorrectness?

Is it possible that those rules are wrong and banning a programming language for being, what, culturally biased, is over the top?

I still hope i read that wrong.


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