[erlang-questions] erlang sucks

Massimo Cesaro massimo.cesaro@REDACTED
Thu Mar 13 21:54:07 CET 2008

On Thu, Mar 13, 2008 at 8:21 PM, KatolaZ <me@REDACTED> wrote:

> On Thu, Mar 13, 2008 at 09:59:27AM -0700, Kevin Scaldeferri wrote:
> >
> > Personally, I feel like for the type of tasks that most students /
> > academics do, Haskell is nicer.  For the sort of thing that most
> > professional programmers do, Erlang is nicer.  I can live with some
> > modest extra verbosity in exchange for solving some really hard
> > practical problems.
> >
> To be honest, I don't think that the matter is "the type of tasks that
> most students / academics do" :-) I think that Erlang has some nice
> stuff that haskell still misses (like native support for reliability

My personal experience is closer to Kevin's point of view. For our company,
Erlang is actually an engineering tool, and a really effective one.
As far as I know, Erlang design was driven by Ericsson requirements, ie a
telecom industry development tool with peculiar features. I believe that
this goal was achieved brilliantly, both in terms of  completeness and
effectiveness. I remeber I was quite impressed with Ulf paper on the
increase of productivity among programmers using Erlang for the AXD
development, and was even more impressed to verify his claims as completely
Sure, we had to completely change our reference paradigms, switching from
object oriented C++ modeling to the functional Erlang approach; but once we
began to think in Erlang, we saw that the solution of most of the problems
we struggled in the last 15 years were distilled in  Erlang and OTP (just
like Steve Vinovski  describe in the interview cited by Ulf).

As an engineering tool, we appreciate Erlang because it allows us to solve
very complex TLC problems with a fraction of the effort required by any
other development tool we know; in this respect, for us Erlang is a domain
specific language that happens to solve also a broader range of problems.
As engineers in a specific problem domain, we are looking for getting the
job done in the best way, paying attention to the code manufacturing and
maintenance costs; it is a different approach from the computer scientist or
from the student.

> What I mean is that we need to use a little of criticism also when we
> talk about our favourite language, and in this sense I really
> appreciated that blogpost which started this kind of flame: if we read
> it from a "neutral" point of view, we'll find that most of what ketz
> have written is TRUE, expecially if we use another FPL like haskell
> for the comparison.

Reading Damien Katz blog I understand that he used a pragmatic approach to
develop CouchDB. In this respect, Erlang and OTP proved invaluable tools to
achieve his goals and he'll use them again for this application. It seems
that his criticism are related to his idea of using Erlang outside the
problem domain Erlang was designed for, but then we are talking about a
different language.
I'm happy that the open source model of Erlang is in the firm hands of
Ericsson: this is the best guarantee that Erlang will always be an
engineering tools to solve engineering problems.


> Finally, I agree with Ulf when he says that Erlang, Haskell,
> lisp/scheme and ML/OCaml communities should work together much more
> than how they are actually doing: all of them could benefit from such
> kind of collaboration. Maybe Erlang would have been a better language
> today from many perspectives, if our community had got ideas and
> solutions from haskell/OCaml/scheme experiences.
> My2Cents
> Enzo
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> [ Enzo Nicosia aka KatolaZ --- GLUG Catania -- Freaknet Medialab ]
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