20 Years of Open Source Erlang: The OpenErlang Parties

by Erlang Solutions

It’s party time! To celebrate the 20th anniversary of open sourced Erlang, we have already held two great parties in San Francisco and Stockholm - now it’s London’s turn!

This year we’ve been also holding meetups, webinars, producing blogs and interviews to mark the occasion, but like any celebration, a party should be on the cards!

The London Erlang Party is coming and we invite you all to join the Erlang, Elixir and Open Source community on the evening of 8th November. Put your name on the list and we will send you a free ticket!

The choice to make Erlang available to everyone has created a powerful community, and its achievements have been exceptional. We’ve partnered with WhatsApp and æternity to say a MASSIVE thank you and treat you to a good old-fashioned night out in London, on us!

This is a free event full of drinks, food and a few surprises, and we can’t wait for you to join us in celebrating open source languages and in particular ERLANG! Please RSVP on our Eventbrite page to register your attendance.

When: Thursday 08 November 2018 - 18:30 - late Where: ILEC Conference Centre, 47 Lillie Road, London. SW6 1UD

OpenErlang Interviews

Along with our London shindig, we have a selection of #OpenErlang Interviews online. We’ve been asking key influencers in the Erlang community to chat to us about their experiences and Erlang milestones over the last 20 years.

If you’ve signed up, check out a sneak peek of what’s to come! And if you haven’t - what are you waiting for? It’s free after all…

We have the transcript listed at the bottom of this blog post.

About #OpenErlang

You can find out more about our activities - past, present and future - at our #OpenErlang page. Catch up with past webinars, sign up for current ones, and watch our complete #OpenErlang Interview series.

About Erlang

Erlang was created in the Ericsson labs in the mid-80s by Robert Virding, Joe Armstrong and Mike Williams where Ericsson continued to use it until it was made open source in 1998. Jane Walerud was a key figure in helping the language become open source as well.

The name “Erlang” came from an abbreviation of “Ericsson Language” along with reference to the Danish mathematician and engineer Agner Krarup Erlang who invented fields of traffic engineering and queueing theory.

The language was designed with the aim of improving the development of telephony applications, and a garbage-collected runtime system. The key positive of Erlang is the “write once, run forever” motto coined by Joe Armstrong in an interview with Rackspace in 2013.

The successes of the language can often be down to “robustness” - the ability to run multiple processes whilst still maintaining the amazing speed and efficiency. Error handling is non-local so if one process breaks or encounters a bug, it continues running! And then of course Erlang is famous to be scalable, distributed, highly concurrent, highly available and fault-tolerant functional programming language.

Erlang can be used interchangeably with Erlang/OTP.

Interview Transcript

At work with the boss breathing down your neck? Or don’t want to be one of those playing videos out loud on public transport? Here’s the transcript, although not as exciting as the real thing.

[background instrumental music]

Stuart Whitfield: This year is the 20th anniversary of the open sourcing of Erlang. The BEAM Community wouldn’t exist if that fateful decision hadn’t been taken two decades ago.

Anna Neyzberg: Open Source really did change the way they built software and seeing that people are still committed to continuing that and passing that on is really critical so we can continue doing what we do.

Francesco Cesarini: It’s really, really exciting to see how they are all getting along, sharing ideas and learning from each other.

Osa Gaius: Different countries of all races, backgrounds. We hope that in the next 20 years, the diversity of people in the community will still be large.

Stuart: Erlang success as a technology would not have happened without your contribution. Let’s congratulate ourselves on what has been achieved in the first 20 years of open sourcing Erlang.


[00:00:58] [END OF AUDIO]

OpenErlang; 20 Years of Open Sourced Erlang

Erlang was originally built for Ericsson and Ericsson only, as a proprietary language, to improve telephony applications. It can also be referred to as “Erlang/OTP” and was designed to be a fault-tolerant, distributed, real-time system that offered pattern matching and functional programming in one handy package.

Robert Virding, Joe Armstrong and Mike Williams were using this programming language at Ericsson for approximately 12 years before it went open source to the public in 1998. Since then, it has been responsible for a huge number of businesses big and small, offering massively reliable systems and ease of use.

OpenErlang Interview Series

As mentioned, this isn’t the first in the #OpenErlang Interview series. We have three more existing videos to enjoy.

Robert Virding and Joe Armstrong

It only seems fitting to have launched with the creators of Erlang; Robert Virding and Joe Armstrong (minus Mike Williams). Robert and Joe talk about their journey with Erlang including the early days at Ericsson and how the Erlang community has developed.

Christopher Price

Last week was the launch of our second #OpenErlang Interview from Ericsson’s Chris Price. Currently the President of Ericsson’s Software Technology, Chris has been championing open source technologies for a number of years.

Chris chats to us about how Erlang has evolved, 5G standardization technology, and his predictions for the future.

Jane Walerud

Jane is a serial entrepreneur of the tech persuasion. She was instrumental in promoting and open sourcing Erlang back in the 90s. Since then, she has continued her entrepreneurial activities, helping launch countless startups within the technology sector from 1999 to present day. Her work has spanned across many influential companies who use the language including Klarna, Tobil Technology, Teclo Networks and Bluetail, which she founded herself.

Other roles have included Member of the Board at Racefox, Creades AB and Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, and a key role in the Swedish Government Innovation Council.

Simon Phipps

Having become an open source programming language, Erlang was allowed to flourish. It gained a passionate following which has since developed into a close community. Simon Phipps dedicates his time to open source promoting languages such as Erlang through the Open Source Initiative and other similar schemes.

Why are open source languages such as Erlang so important? Find out more!

Anton Lavrik

Anton is a Server Engineer at one of the biggest mobile applications in the world. Yep, we’re talking about WhatsApp, which runs on Erlang! WhatsApp is capable of sending billions of messages every single day, and Erlang’s stability and concurrency is a significant reason why it’s perfect for the amount of traffic WhatsApp received. Discover WhatsApp’s Erlang journey with Anton.

Other Erlang Solutions Activities…

BlockScout - Open Source EVM Blockchain

Our latest webinar is open to registrants! On Wednesday 14th November, we will be speaking to Andrew Cravenho from POA Network about our recent project together, creating the Open Source EVM Blockchain Explorer!

Blockchain 2018; Myths vs Reality

Continuing our blockchain theme is our Scalability Architect and Developer Dominic Perini who has written a highly informative and entertaining article regarding the state of blockchain this year. Find out his thoughts and join the conversation online! Read Blockchain 2018 here.

NetStats System Dashboard for Ethereum-based platform

Our second blog treat during our focus on blockchain is from another fantastic scalability Architect and Erlang/Elixir Developer Felipe Ripoll. His article on the NetStats System Dashboard offers a concise overview of our project with POA Network.

If you’re interested in contributing and collaborating with us at Erlang Solutions, you can contact us at

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