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Re: Industry versus academia

> From: Luke Gorrie <luke@bluetail.com>
> Date: 22 Feb 2003 00:28:01 +0100
> 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
> before.
> Would you agree? If so, perhaps these form a third category.

I think this is a valid third category.  I wasn't trying to be
all-inclusive be-all-and-end-all ;-)  This category is more typical of
older languages like C and Smalltalk (as you mention).  BTW I don't like
the name "academic" for the first category; I prefer "grass-roots" which
includes academia.  Certainly perl and python are not academic languages
(although if one wanted to split hairs one could mention that python is
derived from ABC, which was an academic teaching language).

It seems to me that Erlang is becoming a grass-roots language in addition
to its use in industry.  This is of course exactly what happened with C and
(to a much lesser extent) Smalltalk.

Can anyone think of any more non-conservative languages that have come out
of industry, are coming out of industry, or are heavily used in industry?