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Re: Industry versus academia

Michael Vanier <mvanier@cs.caltech.edu> writes:

> I'm not an expert on the history of Erlang, but it is kind of an exception
> to this rule in that it's a functional language that came from industry.
> However, my understanding is that Ericsson has essentially turned its back
> on Erlang (I seem to recall that no new projects are being developed in
> Erlang there anymore; correct me if I'm wrong), so in that sense it's not
> an exception.

I don't know the latest of Ericsson's politics, but they're still
actively developing it and giving commercial support. But then, Erlang
is really actively used outside Ericsson these days, and growing very
fast. There now seem to be at least a couple of dozen companies using
it seriously, for small and large projects, and hundreds of
professional erlang hackers. Soon I'll have to switch languages just
to restore my "obscure language weirdo" self-image ;-)

But all that aside, I don't think Erlang could be classed as either
academic or conservative-and-hyped industrial. From what little
second-hand language history I know, its development seems much closer
to languages like C and Smalltalk, which don't seem to belong in
either category either. They all seem more like hacker-spirited
languages designed in industry for intelligent (but not necessarily
pointy-headed) people to write serious programs better than they could

Would you agree? If so, perhaps these form a third category.

P.S., Erlang is now running quite a modest chunk of the world's
networking infrastructure I think, between the telecomms equipment
that Ulf Wiger &co are doing at Ericsson, the VPN, SSL-accelleration,
and switched firewall stuff that we're doing at Nortel, and the many
other things by companies like T-Mobile, Motivity, etc. Web and
banking companies are the latest ones getting into it - all very
exciting, and getting hard to keep up with!