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

Francesco Cesarini <>
Fri Feb 14 10:01:09 CET 2014

No, no no Thomas... You can not move away from OTP. It even has its 
official music video:


On a serious note, I flagged the issues about the T in Telecom when 
speaking at the Erlang User Conference in 2001. A company in France, 
working on a Jabber proxy, did not use OTP behaviors or even look at the 
documentation because they were not developing Telecom products. In the 
book I'm co-authoring on OTP, the word Telecom will get one mention. In 
the introduction, alongside a rant over why it is called that way. In 
the rest of the chapters, it will be an acronym. (BTW, dealing with 
management and those sitting on the budget on a daily basis, I agree in 
full with Robert. A marketing hat would at times help).


On 13/02/2014 18:54, Thomas Lindgren wrote:
> OK, if the acronym drives your managers nuts, fork it, rename it (how 
> about "Blue Gorilla", "Customer Yacht" or "Uhuru Scalable Mountain") 
> and write in the docs that it's based on OTP (tip: below the fold). 
> I'm sure Erlang Solutions can sell your company Blue Gorilla training 
> and contractors if you ask them.
> Best,
> Thomas
> On Thursday, February 13, 2014 7:16 PM, 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/
>     On Thu, Feb 13, 2014 at 12:05 PM, Fred Hebert <
>     <mailto:>> 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
>         <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
>         <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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