[erlang-questions] Time for OTP to be Renamed?

Garrett Smith <>
Thu Feb 13 10:51:26 CET 2014

Sigh. This *is* confusing. It just is.

Loïc you *cannot* use Erlang without OTP. The VM starts a system,
which consists of applications, which are supervisory trees of

Supervisors are gen_servers btw.

If you think OTP is optional, look at the first two lines of kernel.erl:


Historically, OTP libraries came after Erlang the language, of course,
but this so called OTP "framework" is now endemic to Erlang.

What sucks IMO is that OTP is treated as "advanced" by the community
and by book authors. I understand the history of this, but there's a
cost: programmers delay learning core Erlang principles of
*applications* -- i.e. supervisor trees -- because it's not taught up.
It's also incredibly complicated, if you don't use e2.

The irony is that *advanced* Erlang programmers can get away
programming outside the OTP guard rails. Beginners should not even
consider doing this until they understand why OTP works and why they
should deviate.

e2 helps, a lot.

The whole point of e2 is to simplify the correct use of OTP -- letting
programmers *start* with applications, supervisors and gen_servers (in
e2 they're called services and tasks -- simple huh). I know it's
controversial, but it's controversial to those who have been teaching
Erlang while this stuff was being baked. I don't run into new learners
who object to starting with OTP using e2 (though maybe they're just
being polite -- if you're out there and had problems learning with e2,
please drop me a line, or yell at me here).

I agree wholeheartedly with Pieter. It's just Erlang. Keeping the term
OTP is a historic vestige. We're used to it, but it's a dead weight
that adds only confusion.

The Ruby / Rails comparison is not accurate. It's more like Rails 1.0
/ Rails 2.0.

Sadly though, I just don't see "OTP" going away because there's a
trickle of noise from this list :|

I make videos to cope.

On Thu, Feb 13, 2014 at 2:54 AM, Ivan Uemlianin <> wrote:
> On 13/02/2014 08:13, Pieter Hintjens wrote:
>> ... (a) stop using OTP as a
>> confusing and needless synonym for Erlang, ...
> Is that what OTP is used as?  I thought OTP was a set (or framework, or
> platform) of libraries (behaviours, supervision, etc.) that facilitate the
> development of highly scalable and reliable applications (telecoms-grade
> scalability and reliability you might say).  AFAIK it's open-source.
> Yes, let's rename it to something that more closely reflects what it really
> is.  How about the "Open-source Telecoms-grade reliability and scalability
> Platform"?
> Ivan
> --
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> Ivan A. Uemlianin PhD
> Llaisdy
> Speech Technology Research and Development
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