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October 2004
November 2004

2004-10-03 »

Language Reliability, Round 2

Several people accused my last post of being a thinly-veiled troll. Well... yes. But I was also serious.

Thanks to davidw, who reminded me that Erlang does in fact both exist and run high-performance, high-reliability systems. I haven't looked at it very closely, though; I suspect it may have other overriding disadvantages, possibly including the most common one: incompatibility with pre-existing code. "100% Pure Java" my bum.

To the accusations that I was unclear in my requirements for "reliability" and "high-performance", I guess I can clarify a bit. My company makes highly reliable backup software. Imagine your job was to manage the mission-critical backups for a 1000-person company, and in case of any failure, you had to be able to get back up and running again within 24 hours. First of all, can a program written in one of these scripting languages deal with the massive quantities of data involved - hundreds of gigabytes, millions of files? Would your backup even finish every night? Can you trust your backups to be reliable?

This is an honest question, and when I ask myself, the answer is no. I've just never seen a program written in one of these languages that I would trust with my mission-critical data. So I ask you the same: have you seen programs in these non-C/C++ languages that are actually this fast and reliable? I haven't. I would love to hear some examples.

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