[erlang-questions] "Erlang, the next Java"

Kenneth Lundin kenneth.lundin@REDACTED
Fri Aug 10 13:43:45 CEST 2007

I don't agree with you about the shortcomings, see below.

On 8/10/07, Chris Wong <chris@REDACTED> wrote:
> I enjoy this article.  Thanks for forwarding.
> As much as I like to focus on the positive aspects of Erlang, there
> are at least a couple short-comings of Erlang.  One of them are
> mentioned by Ralph Johnson in this article; Erlang doesn't have a
> large company behind it.
Ericsson is a wordleading telecommunications company and stands behind Erlang.
It is true however that Ericsson is not marketing Erlang because
Ericsson does not currently have sales and support of generic SW as a
business case. But maybe that can change at least I hope that.
  Second, I heard a lot that distributed
> Erlang doesn't scale in a large distributed environment with
> thousands of machine.  I personally don't have any experience to
> assert it one way or the other.
Erlang's internal distribution mechanism (between Erlang VM's) was not designed
with the intention to support thousands of VM's communicating over the
open internet. It was built to be used on a LAN with a relatively
static number of VM's in a cluster (max 255 from the beginning, but
that limit is removed now).
Because of this there can be some problems with very large setups
where thousends of VM's are connected simultaneously. It very much
depends on what you do if it scales well.
Erlang's distribution protocol is based on TCP/IP with a handshake and
marshalling layer on top of that.
Erlang's distribution protocol can easily be changed to be carried
over something else than plain TCP/IP. There is a plugin architechture
to do this. Distribution over SSL is one example which is included in
the Open Source release.
Erlang is also a superior language when it comes to implementation of
application level protocols carried over TCP, UDP or other transport
> Both have been used by anti-Erlang camp.  It makes it really hard to
> advocate Erlang in a large company.  For example, in a large
> ccompany, there is usually a large investment already to solve the
> large distributed computing problem in Java or C++.  The usual
> argument is that the tested and proven home-grown solution should be
> used instead despite how much concurrency gain you'd have using Erlang.
I am not aware of that Java or C++ has any built in distribution
mechanisms that
scales well or better than Erlang. As long as there is a protocol
(home grown or standard) implemented in Java or C++ there is no
problem to use the same protocol from Erlang.
What I mean is that you can't put something as a shortcoming for
Erlang and then comparing it with Java and C++ where there is no
distribution concept at all(comparable with Erlangs) built in.
> It's a huge disappointment for me and a touch battle to fight.
So what do you have to be dissapointed about when you compare with
Java or C++? It can't be the distribution capabilities, can it?
> What are the mitigation for such short-comings in Erlang?
See above.

There are still shortcomings even in Erlang , I agree and how to adress them
very much depends on what problems you want to solve with Erlang.
Defining the problem or problems that are generic enough to be solved
is the key.
Then solving them should be straight forward.
> Thanks for any insight.
> Chris
/Kenneth (Responsible for Erlang/OTP within Ericsson
> On Aug 9, 2007, at 3:25 PM, Thomas Lindgren wrote:
> > http://www.cincomsmalltalk.com/userblogs/ralph/blogView?
> > showComments=true&entry=3364027251
> >
> > Ralph Johnson (gang of four) praises Erlang in a
> > longish review of Joe's book. Great stuff from a
> > veteran; here is the payoff:
> >
> > "Erlang is going to be a very important language. It
> > could be the next Java. Its main problem is that there
> > is no big company behind it. Instead, it is being
> > pushed as an open source project. Its main advantage
> > is that it is perfectly suited for the multi-core, web
> > services future. In fact, it is the ONLY mature,
> > rock-solid language that is suitable for writing
> > highly scalable systems to run on multicore machines.
> >
> > ...
> >
> > I do not believe that other languages can catch up
> > with Erlang anytime soon. It will be easy for them to
> > add language features to be like Erlang. It will take
> > a long time for them to build such a high-quality VM
> > and the mature libraries for concurrency and
> > reliability. So, Erlang is poised for success. If you
> > want to build a multicore application in the next few
> > years, you should look at Erlang."
> >
> > Best,
> > Thomas
> >
> >
> >
> >
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