[erlang-questions] Fwd: Is there a good source for documentation on BEAM?

Jeff Schultz jws@REDACTED
Wed May 9 02:21:08 CEST 2012

On Tue, May 08, 2012 at 11:52:19AM -0700, Jonathan Coveney wrote:

[plain, good sense elided]

> I think that more documentation around this would be good in many
> respects...

> 1. Documenting these sorts of things frames understanding for others, which
> can lead to more eyes on the implementation, which is always good
> 2. It'll make it easier for people to write custom VM's, which is only a
> good thing for Erlang. For the JVM, for example, this is a huge benefit and
> as Java the language dies, the ecosystem of budding JVM languages will no
> doubt go strong
> 3. It'll make it easier for people to compile things to BEAM, which only
> goes to show that Erlang's underbelly is general purpose and useful for
> building robust, fault-tolerant software

And to add one more:

4.  Documenting, and publishing, your internals makes them
patent-system visible prior art.  This protects you from some
Johnny-come-lately company, or individual, who patents something
you've been using for many years.  Source code, even publicly
available source code like Erlang, is not generally valid prior art in
patent terms.  Just because you've been doing, say, memory management,
one particular way for a decade, won't block a patent covering exactly

And yes, it does happen.

    Jeff Schultz

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