Erlang

20 Years of Open Source Erlang: The OpenErlang Interviews

by Erlang Solutions

In our latest blog post ‘Twenty Years of Open Source Erlang’, Francesco Cesarini spoke of a conversation he had with Joe Armstrong back in 1995, three years prior to Erlang becoming open source; “Erlang will not be around forever.” Joe said, “Someday, something better will come along”.

Here we are, careering into 2019, and Erlang still remains as strong as ever. What’s the secret?

All year we’ve been celebrating #OpenErlang and you have surely come across our amazing video series. We’ve spoken to some of the key enthusiasts that have been championing Erlang/OTP! This includes Anton Lavrik from WhatsApp, probably one of the most prolific companies to use Erlang to date with 1 BILLION active daily users. And how about AdRoll? Staff Engineer Miriam Pena spoke of Erlang participating in over one million actions per second. You can check out the other companies that use Erlang as well.

Erlang has the ability to scale tremendously, but it has also understandably made waves in the open source community - the social side of programming. The President of the Open Source Initiative, Simon Phipps, spoke of Erlang’s strong following, and how Microsoft had made a “delicious” U-Turn from the Linux operating system to Erlang.

Lastly, we spoke to past and present employees of Ericsson! Jane Walerud was a hugely integral part in making Erlang open source in 1998, whilst current President of Ericsson Software Technology Christopher Price gave us further insight into Ericsson’s 5G development using Erlang.

Here we have a look back at all of the #OpenErlang videos that began back in August with Robert Virding and Joe Armstrong and ended with Francesco’s retrospective from 1998 to 2018.

The Erlang Creators; Robert Virding and Joe Armstrong

We interviewed Robert and Joe during the #OpenErlang Stockholm party, and it felt only right to begin our Erlang journey with those who know it best; the co-creators of Erlang!

Mike Williams was absent during our Stockholm Party, but of course there in spirit, and as always Robert and Joe were as enthusiastic about Erlang now as they were in 1998. You can read the full article including the interview, facts about Robert and Joe, and the Erlang journey.


The President of Ericsson Software Technology; Christopher Price

Chris spends his time developing and promoting open source communities, not only at Ericsson but at OpenStack where he’s on the Board of Directors and the OpenDaylight Project as an Ambassador. These are just his current roles!

What was interesting, speaking to Chris, is the development in 5G technology. Ericsson anticipates that by 2023, 20% of the world’s population will be covered by 5G and it intends to get the ball rolling. You can read more about Chris, the legacy of the Ericsson Labs, and what Ericsson is doing including its 5G standardisation.


The Serial Tech Entrepreneur; Jane Walerud

A “serial tech entrepreneur” is the best way to describe Jane. She has invested in a number of tech startups since the 90s and was instrumental in promoting the fine qualities of Erlang back in 1998 when she campaigned to make it open source. In fact, she used Erlang when founding Bluetail back in 1999 with Robert Virding.

Erlang can lend itself to other languages, such as Elixir, which she describes in her #OpenErlang interview. Jane has always been impressed with the robust nature of Erlang. The fact you can run it on multiple devices, and if one breaks? Doesn’t matter. Read more about Jane’s inspiring Erlang journey, and how Erlang went from Ericsson’s “secret weapon” to open source.


The Open Source Freedom Fighter; Simon Phipps

Simon’s passion is open source. He created the Open Source Initiative back in 1998, in the same month that the term “open source” was coined! Since then, Simon has been involved in so many organisations that champion open source languages, including being the President of the Open Source Initiative. “Software freedom is the essential ingredient for the profitability of companies using Open Source.” as Simon states in his #OpenErlang interview and we couldn’t agree more! Learn more about the OSI and Simon’s work.


The Global Engineer; Anton Lavrik

Anton has used Erlang for over 10 years and he isn’t interested in stopping now. Currently one of a few server engineers at WhatsApp (they don’t exactly need many, Erlang is that good ;)), you might be tricked into thinking that Anton has his hands full.

Due to Erlang’s ability to scan across multiple devices, it’s the perfect solution when dealing with billions of users, messages, videos and photos EVERY DAY. Get the facts and stats surrounding WhatsApp, how such a huge company uses Erlang and why Anton has been using OTP for so long.


The Money Maker; Miriam Pena

AdRoll has generated over $7 billion in revenue for their customers, resulting in Erlang dealing with 1.5 million actions PER SECOND, says Engineer Miriam. She has worked with Erlang, Elixir, AWS, Python, DynamoDB, Kinesys, and Memcached. She loves working with distributed, high concurrency systems, as you can probably tell! Erlang’s ability to scale regardless of the size of the business is a great asset, and quite poetic considering its very own open source story.

Find out more about Miriam’s expertise, AdRoll and read the full transcript at our dedicated blog post.


The Erlang Creator Part II; Robert Virding

Erlang was created in the mid-80s, and of course, it only became open source over a decade later. We concluded our #OpenErlang interviews with a very special insight from Robert about the importance of Erlang, and all other open source languages that have come after it.

As one of the early members of the Ericsson Computer Science Lab, we’re always extremely proud to say that Robert is a Principal Language Expert at Erlang Solutions. You can read more about Robert’s journey and about Erlang here.


The #OpenErlang Parties

As mentioned, we’ve been partying in style during 2018 with retro gaming and world-class talks in tow. We’ve visited San Francisco, Stockholm and London, and have arranged webinars and meetups all celebrating this momentous occasion. If you haven’t already seen, our highlights video is a great summary of why the open source community is still flourishing, from those in the thick of it!


And we have a dedicated page for everything #OpenErlang. Here you will find all the #OpenErlang interviews, as well as other amazing content from 2018 including webinars with Simon Thompson, and Mariano Guerra and Robert Virding’s ‘Implementing languages on the BEAM’. Here’s to the next 20 years!


We thought you might also be interested in:

Robert Virding and Joe Armstrong - Erlang creators interview

How Whatsapp use Erlang

Our portfolio of Erlang based products

Go back to the blog

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