[erlang-questions] yet more ranting about Erlang docs

Dave Smith dizzyd@REDACTED
Thu Feb 18 15:32:37 CET 2010

On Thu, Feb 18, 2010 at 3:55 AM, Michael Turner <leap@REDACTED> wrote:
> I like the idea.  But basically, Ericsson owns Erlang/OTP in every
> meaningful sense of the term.  They just let us look at, and dink around
> with, their code.  They don't even release their test suites, and
> without those, nobody can realistically hope to take an independent
> direction with the system.  Whatever the community does on Ericsson
> reference material, it *must* be reflected back into their codebase, for
> the foreseeable future, otherwise you'll have a fork that's steadily
> growing incompatible with the Ericsson base reality.  And Joe lays it
> out pretty clearly: unless a customer of Ericsson's is paying for it,
> there's no funding within the company for anything sweeping.  So we
> can't count on much help from that quarter.

You seem to have a lot of angst, friend. From my perspective, Ericsson
is making significant, observable progress towards opening up their
development process. In the past 6 months, they've made more progress
towards opening up the Erlang/OTP codebase than Sun did with Java in 6
YEARS. When I look at the quality of the Erlang VM (esp. considering
the complexity it hides) compared to say, Ruby or Python's VM, I'm
very glad that we have paid professionals maintaining it -- it makes
it POSSIBLE for me to use in a production environment without having
to worry about patching/debugging the VM 99.9% of the time.

I'm tired of the trolling that people do about the Ericsson
development process. It's clear to me, an outsider, that they're
making good faith efforts to involve more people without sacrificing
the quality of the VM (and platform). It's easy to take for granted
the overall quality of Erlang/OTP and forget that attaining such
quality is very, very expensive. The truth is, you REALLY don't want
Ericsson to just toss the VM over the wall without growing these
processes properly. If they did that we'd wind up with a balkanized
community and code base with a declining quality factor -- see the X
instances of the Ruby VM for reference.

So to the Erlang/OTP team, I say "Well done!". Thanks for taking the
difficult step of opening up and please keep it up. I'm extremely
excited by the public contributions that have been making their way
into the mainline for B04. Growing a community is hard, particularly
for a piece of software as complex as the Erlang VM/platform -- but
you're doing it successfully it would seem.

To the people who having nothing to do but rant about Ericsson's
"control", I say put your money where you mouth is. Write your own
Erlang VM if you feel you need more control. After all, it's just

Life is short. Make the most of it.


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