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

Mike Oxford <>
Thu Feb 13 20:24:05 CET 2014


PHBs don't see the value.  They don't see the payoff.  They know what's
worked for them before and what's "tried and true" and "the way things have
always been done."  Other languages are "safe."  A sort of a "known
quantity."   Those EXACT same issues happen when trying to onboard Scala or
Ruby.  Judging from previous companies where they've try to hire Ruby devs
... the project got moved to another language because they couldn't find
enough people with a Ruby background.  And that was here in Silicon Valley.
 Ruby was a flash in the pan as an alternative to PHP (really, the first)
and seems to be waning.

But that's why R&D departments exist.  To explore new ideas and see if
they're worth having Corporate pursue.

We're seeing a LOT more Erlang traction in the last 2-3 years.   Whereas it
was once completely unknown outside of a few small circles it's rapidly
gaining notice and, IMO, we're on the upswell.  There are a lot of projects
using it and people (at least here in the Valley) are starting to take
notice  ... if they're not using it they at least "know someone who knows
someone who has."

As to "I'm not interested in your project because Erlang is useless on my
resume" ... screw that guy.  You wouldn't want him ANYWAYS.  Completely
wrong attitude.  You're better off NOT having him.  He's either into your
project or not.  If he's just out to build his resume ... meh.  A players
hire A players; B players hire C players.  Make sure you're hiring an A
player.

Erlang, to most people, seem to be Erlang + OTP.  To most people around
here, as well, Java means Java+Spring.  Sure, you can separate them but who
cares?


On Thu, Feb 13, 2014 at 10:16 AM, kraythe . <> wrote:

> I have read portions of your book and appreciate your insight. However, I
> think you underestimate the task here. Convincing developers may be
> difficult, but if they are good devs they might come around. Convincing
> management with control over budget and staffing when the naming is wrong?
> Nearly impossible. Thats why massive advertising companies have made
> billions off of just naming things correctly. All of the other concerns you
> posted are very legit and I have had and still do have many of them myself.
> But those concerns are at the tech level and only of minor interest to the
> manager wondering why would he staff for erlang and not scala or ruby?
>
> *Robert Simmons Jr. MSc. - Lead Java Architect @ EA*
> *Author of: Hardcore Java (2003) and Maintainable Java (2012)*
> *LinkedIn: **http://www.linkedin.com/pub/robert-simmons/40/852/a39
> <http://www.linkedin.com/pub/robert-simmons/40/852/a39>*
>
>
> On Thu, Feb 13, 2014 at 12:05 PM, Fred Hebert <> wrote:
>
>> Answers inline.
>>
>> On 02/13, kraythe . wrote:
>> > I Guess my answers would be:
>> > 0) If there is a business case, you can convince them. Low adoption
>> hurts
>> > their maintainability and staffing much more than it does for the
>> startup
>> > or small company. They are a business, not a bunch of unreasonable oafs.
>>
>> That may be doable. I'm not saying the opposite.
>>
>> > 1) Why rewrite the libs if you use the same initials. I wouldn't worry
>> > about that. The programming world is replete with examples of such
>> things.
>>
>> If we can use the same initials, then that's gained and removes a bunch
>> of issues.
>>
>> > 2) and updating the docs will take ... 10 man hours? Do we not have
>> search
>> > and replace capable tools?
>> > 3) Same answer as 2.
>>
>> Yes, but we do not have administration rights to mirrors, say
>> http://erldocs.com/ and translations that can be hosted by the
>> community.
>>
>> The work done with the OTP documentation goes further than the OTP team
>> itself.
>>
>> > 4) Dont need to "make sure" of anything. If the books want to be
>> accurate
>> > they will use the new name, if not "shrug" thats their problem. Trust me
>> > someone on amazon will post "Its not called Open Telecom Platform since
>> > 2014, it stands for "Open Technology Platform". There are enough
>> pedantic,
>> > basement living, people on the internet that will annoy authors into
>> > submission.
>>
>> That doesn't sound like a pleasant experience for everyone. Again, it's
>> not an insurmountable challenge. It's just one more challenge.
>>
>> > 5) Small matter of documentation. "It used to be called X but was
>> renamed
>> > to Y in 2014"
>>
>> Documentation lives on way longer than expected. People still read and
>> order reprints of the Erlang book published in 1994 (and 1996 for the
>> second edition), some of which are translations.
>>
>> Many older versions of books are what is in libraries and whatnot, since
>> Joe's first version in early 2000s. For people using these versions, you
>> end up with inaccurate terminology regarding half the name of the
>> language.
>>
>> It's a matter of documentation, but it's a matter of trying to do it
>> right to reduce the amount of confusion. If people look for "Open
>> Telecom Platform Erlang" it would be sweet to get the new documentation
>> and content.
>>
>> Maybe it's easy, but it's still part of a roadmap.
>>
>> Alternatively, would 'Open Telecom Platform, a framework that is not
>> just about telecoms' going to be more cumbersome in documentation?
>>
>> > 6) History is history. Those investigating the language will get it. It
>> > startedo ut being a telecoms thing and migrated to a general language.
>> No
>> > problem. Live web sites can easily add in blurbs. Old articles will be
>> out
>> > of date but not from the time frame of when they were written. No big
>> deal.
>> > The sky isnt actually falling.
>>
>> I could see that being made as a decision, yes.
>>
>> > 7) Obviously this one is just frothing. The man could update the next
>> > version of his book with more information, cool tricks, whatever and
>> sell
>> > it as a second edition.
>>
>> Yes. I like to insert a bit of non-serious content here and there.
>>
>> > 8) What "traditional SDK" are you referring to? The LISP standard lib?
>> ;-)
>> > Java? C? Ruby? Haskell? Which one is the "normal" one? Normal is
>> defined in
>> > the context of the language, not in the context of another language? In
>> > fact the vast majority of SDKs for java are third party to the JDK
>> itself
>> > anyway.
>>
>> I went from this thread's usage of SDK as a similar point to OTP.
>> Erlang/SDK if you will. If you want to keep it as Erlang/OTP, that can
>> work, but needs to be significantly better than what it is right now to
>> have an actually measurable impact.
>>
>> Otherwise, we're throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks, with no
>> proof that it actually helped anything.
>>
>> > 9) Trying to crystal ball the future will only give you a headache. The
>> key
>> > is to move from where yo are to a point where progress has been made and
>> > recursively loop on that algorithm, not be paralyzed by "what if .... ?"
>> >
>>
>> Non-serious content here also. Not to be taken seriously, but I wouldn't
>> be surprised if it were to happen.
>>
>> > You may have been doing Erlang for ages and feel quite the man but the
>> > question really boils down to "what would you like for the future of
>> Erlang
>> > to be?" If the answer to that in your mind is "A niche language that I
>> can
>> > call myself a guru at and everyone looks at me quizzically and puts up
>> with
>> > my eccentricity or dare say arrogance." then the current name and trend
>> is
>> > fine. If the answer is, "A powerful general purpose programming language
>> > for developing applications using functional paradigms and widely
>> accepted
>> > as being the solution to the next generation of software problems." Then
>> > marketing is important.
>>
>> Oh I love that one. I want Erlang to be adopted so much I wrote an
>> entire book about it and put it online for free, without advertisement.
>> This has taken over 3 years of my spare time, because I wanted Erlang to
>> be more accessible. I invite you to visit it at
>> http://learnyousomeerlang.com, and maybe buy an ebook or print copy if
>> you feel like it would be nicer to read that way. If you prefer a free
>> electronic copies, there are scripts on github to convert it to the
>> kindle format, and a wget line in the FAQ to download a local copy.
>>
>> I also kept writing multiple blog posts at http://ferd.ca that guide and
>> show more tutorials about Erlang, use cases, and tries to sell it as a
>> language as a whole.
>>
>> The reason I'm answering to your suggestion negatively isn't that I
>> don't want Erlang to succeed, it's that I do not believe that changing
>> the meaning of 'OTP' from 'Open Telecom Platform' to 'Open Technology
>> Platform' will have a noticeable impact.
>>
>> Some people do ask the question 'but I don't want to do telecoms', but
>> in my experience, people's issues are the following, to a much higher
>> degree:
>>
>> - The syntax is unfamiliar (or ugly)
>> - It's difficult to work with single assignment, recursion, immutable
>>   algorithms (most of your algorithm books that rely on arrays with O(1)
>>   access to work fine are no longer going to be trivial to translate!
>>   That's huge!)
>> - The tooling (rebar, relx, etc.) isn't up to par with other languages,
>>   even if it keeps getting better.
>> - Lack of IDEs (that was your prime concern when you joined these lists)
>> - Fighting the idea that "it will be hard to hire Erlang developers" to
>>   make it enter and stay in the enterprise.
>>
>> All of those criticism, in the years I've been in the Erlang community,
>> have come up time and time again. They've also have come up orders of
>> magnitude more often than OTP as a name, even if it does come up from
>> time to time.
>>
>> I'm sorry I came up as harsh. I do want better adoption for Erlang and
>> took months if not years of my free time working that way. I do not
>> think renaming OTP is worth the effort, but I'll be glad to be proven
>> wrong through bigger adoption if someone steps up and decides to do it.
>>
>> Now if you please, I'll go back to spending my lunch time working on an
>> post-scripted chapter to the LYSE site introducing maps to people.
>>
>> Regards,
>> Fred.
>>
>
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