[erlang-questions] Supporting a port number in spawn/4

Amit K klg.amit@REDACTED
Mon Oct 21 22:25:43 CEST 2019

Hi all,

I am very new to Erlang, am considering to use it in a project and I have
some security concerns.
I can see it's quite easy to configure TLS for the node-to-node
communication, but making the name-to-port resolution service (epmd) secure
seem a bit too complex to me, such as the one suggested here:

So I was thinking, seeing that there are already options to:
1. Start a distributed node without epmd (-start_epmd false)
2. Limit a node's port numbers to a specific range (via inet_dist_listen_min
& inet_dist_listen_max).

Wouldn't it be nice if we could also specify a predefined port to spawn/4,
to complete that picture? That is allow spawn to look like:
spawn("Name@REDACTED:Port", Mod, Func, ArgList).
Then when spawn sees that a port was provided, it can completely skip the
"epmd resolution" part and proceed with connecting to the target node via
the provided port.
Note: I realize that the "Name" becomes slightly redundant when the Port is
explicit. However this can still be useful - it would be good if the
implementation will also verify that the port belongs to the provided name
at the receiving side, so that a node will not accidentally process a
message that wasn't meant for it.

Again, I'm a complete newbie to Erlang in general, so I may be missing
something essential here :) But I would love to know what that is, if
that's the case, or hear your thoughts in general otherwise :)

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