VisualAggression (Re: Some claims about Erlang (was Re: Erlang use in Italy))

Joe Armstrong (AL/EAB) joe.armstrong@REDACTED
Tue Apr 12 17:22:55 CEST 2005

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-erlang-questions@REDACTED
> [mailto:owner-erlang-questions@REDACTED]On Behalf Of Thomas Lindgren
> Sent: den 12 april 2005 14:18
> To: erlang-questions@REDACTED
> Subject: Re: VisualAggression (Re: Some claims about Erlang (was Re:
> Erlang use in Italy))
> --- flaig@REDACTED wrote:
> > The problem with students is that they WANT to be
> > commodity building blocks. Nowadays people don't go
> > to university because they are seeking knowledge,
> > but because they want to be taught which buttons to
> > press.
> Undeniably so; computer programming was for a time a
> simple way of getting a well-paid job. Perhaps it is,
> on this level, the modern equivalent of working at a
> car factory? I can certainly see the attraction to
> someone wanting to make a quick buck.

  My advice would be if you want a well paid job learn Erlang :-)

  The thing you have to tell your students is "nobody got rich learning a me-to
technology" - if you learn java then you have no competitive edge over all
all the other ten million programmers who learn java.

  Let me quote from Tim Berners-Lee (Weaving the web page 60).

  "Our strategy paid off when Robert visited Helsinki University of Technology.
   Several students there decided to make their combined master's project a
   Web browser ... they decided to call the browser Erwise ...

   By the time it was finished in April 1992, Erwise was quite advanced. It was
   written for use on a Unix machine running X-windows. I went to Finland to
   encourage the students to continue the project after they finished their degrees,
   and to extend the browser to an editor, but they had remarkably little ongoing
   enthusiasm for the Web; they had already decided that when they graduated
   they were going on to what they saw as more tantalising or lucrative software 
   projects. No one else around the institute wanted to pick up the project, either.
   Certainly I couldn't continue it; all the code was documented in Finnish!"

  The rest is history ...

  Students only see the short term - they are no old enough to see the long term -
learning Java etc. is a short-term strategy for becoming a me-too programmer.
If you want to become rich do the following: 

	1) Find an application that people are prepared to pay money for
      2) Implement it as soon as possible
	3) Sell it

  Learning Erlang will help 2) *if the problem domain is correct* - but won't help
with 1 and 3.


> > Maybe we
> > should seriously consider producing something like
> > VisualErlang, or at least an EBuilder, as an
> > addition to the existing Erlang "ecosystem"? I do
> > not have any clear ideas how this could work, but it
> > might be worthwhile.
> Hey, it wouldn't hurt to have that. Given that three
> guys could write Wings3D, why not a "visual
> programming environment"?
> Best,
> Thomas
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