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Discussion on: About trunk-based development; Mixpanel's move from Erlang to Python; & Kubernetes

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Paulo Renato

How and why we switched from Erlang to Python

This article is from 2011, and nowadays is not so hard to find Erlang engineers or learn it, because we have more resource available, like lots of different worldwide conferences around the Erlang ecosystem, and they happen all year around.

But the main reason is that since Elixir was released, and gained traction, it brought Erlang along, thus being now more exposed to wider audience.

For the ones not aware Erlang was during a lot of years considered a secret weapon in their arsenal, by a lot of companies:

Once upon a time, Cisco, Ericsson, Klarna, Goldman Sachs, T-Mobile, WhatsApp, Amazon and many other top companies kept a secret. Erlang was that badly kept secret. Many have heard of it, but few realise that it controls vast amounts of infrastructure, including the fixed and mobile networks we use on a daily basis. It was monumental when Cisco revealed that it ships 2 million devices per year running Erlang at the Code BEAM Stockholm conference in 2018. This translates to 90% of all internet traffic going through routers and switches controlled by Erlang. And have you heard about Ericsson? It has Erlang at the core of its GPRS, 3G, 4G and 5G infrastructure. With a market share of 40%, there’s a high probability a program written in Erlang assigned the IP address your smartphone is using today (amongst other things).

So no matter if you are browsing the Internet or doing just a phone call you have pretty good chances to be using an Erlang system ;).

Nowadays you even have an Erlang Ecosystem Foundation, that aims in their own words:

The Erlang Software Foundation’s goal is to grow and support a diverse community around the Erlang and Elixir Ecosystem, encouraging the continued development of technologies and open source projects based on/around its runtime and languages

So the bottom line is that now 8 years have been passed from when they migrated, therefore the reason of that team to switch from Erlang to Python may have not been an issue today.