OTP development, was Re: Gaga about bifs

Ingela Anderton ingela@REDACTED
Wed Apr 9 14:38:00 CEST 2003

James Hague wrote:

> This brings up an entirely different issue.  The OTP team is doing a good
> job with bug fixes and general maintenance, but general improvements,
> significant and otherwise, seem to have ground to a halt, or at least be in
> a state of confusion.  This has come up several times now.  It may just be
> that Erlang is good enough for the places it is used, but it would be nice
> to see some more active development.  A number of improvements have come up
> and never seem to go anywhere.

We do a whole lot of new development, but the Erlang/OTP team is a
quite small team and we have to priorities. Our development is entirely
financed by license fees. So what our paying customers consider most
important is generally what we consider most important. New language
features are seldom on the top of their list. Erlang/OTP is a
commercial product, that happens too also be open source. The
requirements on commercial product are high. We always need to think
about backward compatibility and robustness. We can never just add
contributions without somebody checking what they do and making sure
that they get tested. (Adding things also means work maintaining them.)

Some of the ideas that emerge on the list are good ideas others are
not. The ideas that we think are good we try to fit into our
development plan if possible. For example Raimo is now putting some
new notation in to io_lib as he was doing other development in io_lib

But some things may have a very big impact and are not things
that you just do. We have to make sure that if we do something, like
for instance introducing some kind of new "struct", that it is properly
thought through, so we do not get stuck with some new hack that we can
not get rid off. Also suggested improvements may impact not only the
language or the specific module where the change was suggested but
also tools and other applications.

Also we have to devote some of our time to support, the paying
customers generate quite a substantial amount of support work.

So I assure you we are constantly making improvements, however time,
number of team members and money will always limit what is plausible
to accomplish.

/Ingela - OTP project manager

P.S Considering you usually get what you pay for and open source customers
do not pay anything I think they have a fairly good deal ;)

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