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

Miles Fidelman mfidelman@REDACTED
Sun Feb 16 03:40:39 CET 2014

Loïc Hoguin wrote:
> On 02/16/2014 01:05 AM, Miles Fidelman wrote:
>> Loïc Hoguin wrote:
>>> To make a comparison, it generally goes like this:
>>> What's Go? -> Language from Google by the Unix people -> I know and
>>> like those, therefore Go must be good too, plus it looks similar to
>>> what I'm used to.
>>> What's Erlang? -> Language from Ericsson invented 25+ years ago ->
>>> Really? I'm not sure what Ericsson does... If it was invented 25 years
>>> ago and I haven't heard about it yet it must not be very good, plus
>>> it's not OO so it must not be very useful.
>>> You can't fix that.
>>> What you can fix about perception is actually minimal stuff. Like
>>> changing the name. Using release numbers that aren't from another
>>> planet. And so on.
> Just in case this wasn't clear, I'm not saying changing the name or 
> release numbers or whatever is a good idea. I'm saying it's minimal 
> and thus not going to change anything.

Ahh... my apologies for misinterpreting.  I think we agree on this.

>> This is just plain silly.
> You are talking about companies, I am talking about people. Erlang is 
> already adopted in many companies, there are more companies using 
> Erlang than there are Erlang developers. It is a grave mistake to 
> focus on companies at this point. What's missing is Erlang developers 
> to work for them and for new ones that might be interested in it.
> It's about people.

Can we explore this a bit?  In two directions:

- My sense is that a lot of the comments in this thread have been about 
the need to promote adoption of Erlang - which is really a 
business/company decision, not that of individual developers (at least 
in my experience, it's companies that make language/platform decisions, 
for business reasons).  It sounds like you and I agree that adoption by 
companies is going along just fine - but I'm not sure that's what others 
are saying.

- It strikes me that the comment that started this branch of discussion 
was something along the lines of "who needs Erlang on a resume?" - or 
words to that effect - which is, as you say, a developer issue.  I 
wonder three things about your assertion that "what's missing is Erlang 
-- Is this true?  How does supply and demand for Erlang developers look 
right now?  (Anybody from Erlang consultancies able to comment here?)
-- If yes, is this perhaps a good thing for Erlang developers? (This was 
my earlier assertion.)  Supply, demand, prices, all of that.  20 years 
ago, one could command big bucks for building web sites - these days, 
not so much.
-- Does promotion actually make a difference?  In my experience, there 
are those who are committed to one particular language - doesn't matter 
what language - and nothing is going to get those folks to explore 
another language.  And then there are real engineers, who pick the right 
tool for the job at hand - and my sense that any good engineer who's 
working on high-availability, high-concurrency systems either already 
knows about Erlang, or will find it pretty quickly when doing technology 
assessment for a project with requirements that are best suited for 
Erlang  (mind you "good engineers" are not all that easy to come by, 
particularly when it comes to the kinds of big, complicated systems that 
Erlang is best suited to - but that's a far broader issue than finding 
coders with Erlang skills)
-- On a related note:  A lot of this comes down to computer science 
education.  40 years ago (I'm showing my age), a typical computer 
science curriculum included quite a bit of language design theory, and 
experience with a range of languages (anybody else remember using 
"Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs" as a 1st-year text?) 
- these days, not so much.  I see an awful lot of people who took a 
couple of courses in Java who think they're computer scientists - but 
ask them about "actors" or "lambda expressions" and you get a glazed 
expressions.  (Real software engineers read lambda-the-ultimate.org ?)

Miles Fidelman

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

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