[erlang-questions] Go vs Erlang for distribution

zxq9 <>
Sun Jun 22 04:26:15 CEST 2014


On Saturday 21 June 2014 22:07:12 Miles Fidelman wrote:
> One quibble - see below:
> 
> zxq9 wrote:
> > On Sunday 22 June 2014 01:43:49 Alexei Sholik wrote:
> >>    2. In his recent talk at EUC Garrett Smith showed us an interesting
> >> 
> >> slide[1] where Go appears to be one of the primary alternatives to
> >> Erlang,
> >> as chosen by _Erlang programmers themselves_. To me this implies that
> >> Erlang programmers have found in Go some of the principles Erlang builds
> >> upon, the fact I'm going to dispute below.
> 
> <snip>
> 
> > I don't see Go as offering anything new. At all. Erlang is a decent
> > language, but as you noted, that's not the real magic as its more an
> > artifact of the history of the platform's implementation than anything
> > else. The important thing is the platform and the complete way in which
> > it embraces the Alan Kay sense of "objects" (and that term being so
> > loaded and meaningless now, has been avoided in favor of "processes").
> 
> I see Erlang as an implementation of the Actor model, a la Carl Hewitt -
> which developed in parallel with Alan Kay's work, and influenced it (and
> both were influenced by Simula).  Smalltalk-72 included message-passing
> concurrency of sorts, but that pretty much went away in later versions
> of Smalltalk (messages remained, but multiple threads of execution kind
> of went away).
> 
> There's a very interesting discussion of this in the archives of the
> fonc email list - starting at
> http://vpri.org/mailman/private/fonc/2013/003975.html (which builds on
> Alan's "Early History of Smalltalk" paper -
> http://gagne.homedns.org/~tgagne/contrib/EarlyHistoryST.html).

Unfortunately the fonc list archive at vpri is behind a password wall, so I'll 
just have to accept ignorance of the discussion.

The other link, however, is open and skimming through it, an excellent 
organization of many of the points I've heard Alan Kay and a few other folks 
make throughout the years. The chronological arrangement of the essay, 
however, makes the ideas into a story -- an exciting one to my inner nerd.

Thanks for the references.

One thing I enjoy about the archives of this list are the frequency and 
quality of external references. Quite regularly a reference tossed out in a 
peripheral discussion such as this one leads me to a new way of thinking about 
a core concept that is useful in Erlang (it helps that a lot of the otherwise 
esoteric stuff is quite trivial and well documented on this platform).

-Craig



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