[erlang-questions] languages in use? [was: Time for OTP to be Renamed?]

Miles Fidelman <>
Sat Feb 15 14:14:40 CET 2014

Pieter Hintjens wrote:
> On Fri, Feb 14, 2014 at 4:39 PM, Miles Fidelman
> <> wrote:
>> Actually, the demand for both Cobol and analog engineers is UP.
> Friend of mine was just laid off from a 15-year Cobol job. One can't
> make general conclusions from small samples.

Talk about small samples.

How about this for a larger sample:
http://eandt.theiet.org/news/2013/mar/cobol-skills.cfm (lede: "Dearth of 
COBOL programmers threatens business")

Or Indeed.Com's salary survey:

> The argument that keeping technology elitist creates wealth is insane
> and should be laid to rest rapidly. Who here is building new
> businesses on LU6.2? Right.

Ask doctors why they specialize.

> Erlang needs to shed its telco ties, and get an independent steering
> committee, and create standards, and multiple implementations, and
> also reach out to other language communities through distribution
> protocols like ZMTP, and educate those communities, while also
> exploiting them and merging with them. Living systems are like the
> Borg; they grow by merger.

Why?  That's all theory.  In practice:
- it's been around, and in use for quite some time
- it's in use in some very large applications
- it's in use in multiple industries, and by some large players
- there are some successful businesses that are built on top of Erlang 
(Basho comes to mind)
- there's a demand for folks who know Erlang (actually, the demand is 
probably more for people who can build highly scalable high-availability 

Excelling at a niche market is a great success strategy.

FYI: Ada is a good parallel example.  It was pushed, for years, by the 
biggest customer in the world, has standards bodies and multiple 
implementations.  Yet it never has taken off as a major platform. On the 
other hand, it continues to have a significant market in 
mission-critical systems - SCADA, aircraft, oil & gas, industrial 
control.  It's not going away anytime soon.

I'd be a lot more worried about Erlang's future if there were anything 
remotely like it in the market (and I'm somewhat surprised that there 
isn't).  It completely blows me away that there isn't another platform 
that's built ground-up to support massive concurrency and 24x7 
operation.  Guess 1st mover advantage counts for a lot.  (Maybe Carl 
Hewitt's personality accounts for the Actor formalism's lack of 
widespread traction.)
> Mock Java all you like. It's a hateful language in many ways. But Java
> programmers know how to work together. There are 6+ different Erlang
> stacks for ZeroMQ, all one-man projects, all lacking any community.
Who's mocking Java?  I just don't have much use for it.  On the other 
hand, the company I work for these days builds most stuff on top of .NET 
and Microsoft SQL - not what I'd chose, but it works.

As to ZeroMQ - is that not more about market conditions?  But I would 
expect you're in a better position to comment on that then most.

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
In practice, there is.   .... Yogi Berra

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