[erlang-questions] Erlang 10 years of Open Source; it is time for the next step

Massimo Cesaro massimo.cesaro@REDACTED
Thu Mar 20 18:28:25 CET 2008

On Thu, Mar 20, 2008 at 3:56 AM, Brian Granger <ellisonbg.net@REDACTED>

> >  It is worth noting that so far 99% of the patches contributed to
> >  erlang-bugs or erlang-patches need to be corrected or rewritten by us
> >  before they make it into a release. And this has nothing with lack of
> >  VCS to do. The reasons are more of the type:
> >  - solution is not done the way we like to have it
> >  - does not work on all platforms
> >  - buggy
> >  - unacceptable dependencies
> >  - unacceptable incompatibility
> True, using SVN, git or mercurial won't help this.  But, having a well
> defined and open development model would help this.  In fact, I would
> argue that the reason you get such poor quality patches is that there
> is not formal, open and well documented way of contributing to Erlang.
>  If Erlang moved to an open dev model, the Erlang team could simply
> document the requirements for all contributed code - things like
> coding conventions, documentation, testing, dependencies.  This would
> encourage people to submit better quality code.

I'm afraid that's it's not so straightforward as it sound. I think that the
Erlang people has an 850 tons gorilla code base to take care of, eventually
running on different hardware and software architectures. It's difficult to
imagine that anybody has the will/stamina/resources to do the same in a
reasonable time frame without a strong commitment (read: customer driven).
The only case in which opening everything to everybody would make sense is
if/when Ericsson give up in supporting Erlang, and given the premises that's
unlikely to happen real soon.
I guess that non-Ericsson people from many companies in this list, which
leveraged on the tremendous productivity gain derived from Erlang and OTP to
create their products, share this common sense approach and appreciate
having a company like Ericsson to back up their core technology.
Let's face it: Erlang as it is today *is* open source, with one of the
better licenses in the world of open source (i.e. no strings attached, no
bigotry, no ideological twist). We do have the EEP to propose enhancements.
And we have somebody helping us in avoiding to shoot ourselves in the foot.
Erlang is a (pretty wide) domain specific language. It is not a swiss army
knife tool. It's not designed to be a teaching tool. It's not a matter of
conquering people's minds or souls. It's about making stuff work even when
the other guys stuff breaks.


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