[erlang-questions] Erlang Syntax and "Patterns" (Again)

Loïc Hoguin <>
Thu Mar 17 02:26:46 CET 2016

On 03/17/2016 01:31 AM, Steve Davis wrote:
> Fair assessment?


The key point is that Erlang is unfamiliar and so people are not drawn 
to it. Erlang is unfamiliar because of syntax. Erlang is unfamiliar 
because it's a concurrent environment. Erlang is unfamiliar because it's 
not OO. Erlang is unfamiliar because it's used for writing unfamiliar 
applications (how many people are programming databases or distributed 
systems? And I don't mean deploying Redis).

I suspect Erlang is unfamiliar also because it comes from Sweden, and 
Swedish people are too humble for their own good. It doesn't really 
matter that something is the best if you don't make any claims to that 
effect. To be noticed you need to make a fool of yourself and exaggerate 
how good your product is (and how bad the other products are). And to 
make your product familiar you have to do this a lot. And with confidence.

MongoDB is a great example. Even if you never used it you are probably 
familiar with it. You probably also know it will lose your data. Your 
manager doesn't, though, and that's why you end up using it. Or you 
don't believe it will affect you (humans have a hard time accepting that 
the worst could happen; software error, computer crash, or even death). 
Perhaps you're also just batshit crazy.

None of the details matter. Erlang can be the best, or just good enough, 
it will make very little difference. Syntax details only start to matter 
when you already decided to learn Erlang, and even then maybe only 5% of 
people will give up because of it (that's my hope that only 5% of 
developers are that superficial).

All that matters is reaching out to people and trying to appeal to them. 
But even the latter is not that important. Bad publicity is also good 

The best thing that could happen to Erlang right now is for WhatsApp to 
have a worldwide outage and to publicly blame it on a flaw in Erlang/OTP 

Loïc Hoguin
Author of The Erlanger Playbook,
A book about software development using Erlang

More information about the erlang-questions mailing list