[erlang-questions] What problem are we trying to solve here? [was Erland users group [was re: languages in use? [was: Time for OTP to be Renamed?]]]

Miles Fidelman <>
Mon Feb 17 15:33:03 CET 2014

Jon Schneider wrote:
>> Perl's CPAN repository really is the most amazing repository system I've
>> seen
> Amazing at what ?
> In my experience it asks lots of questions about what options you want for
> a package I never feel confident answering. Can I revisit my choices ?
> There seem to be gadzillions of packages to do things like parse a date or
> an HTTP response and packages to do some of these seem to depend on more
> complicated packages.
> It seems to keep wanting to update itself. "should be a seamless upgrade".
> Sometimes it is.
> Lots of tests seem to fail. Sometimes it knows they're supposed to fail
> and sometimes you're left scratching your head.
> Many roads lead to perl 6 being built.
> I've head the displeasure of CPAN going back to the mid 90s and it's still
> a steaming heap as far as I'm concerned. I'm glad I stopped writing more
> than the very occasional bit of perl a long time ago.
My experience has been a bit different - though, admittedly I haven't 
built anything in Perl for maybe 10 years.  (Mostly because I don't do a 
lot of website development these days, and when I do, PHP is a far 
cleaner language.)

But, during a period when I was building a bunch of web sites, I was 
continuously amazed by how easy it was to:
- find a perl module to do a particular job
- type 1 instruction
- watch everything get built, tested, and loaded, with all dependencies 
resolved (and automatically running regression tests is a really nice 
- yes, sometimes it took a while, and sometimes things failed, but 
mostly things just worked

These days, my main use comes from periodic upgrades to Sympa (really 
top-notch mailing list manager maintained by a consortium of French 
universities).  It's all built in perl, and it uses cpan to update all 
its dependencies.  (When things fail, it's usually Sympa's updater that 
fails - at which point I use cpan to install/update all the required 
modules and then things generally just work.)

The only other thing I've found that comes close is "apt-get install 
foo" from a Debian package repository (or "apt-get update; apt-get 

Miles Fidelman

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

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