Am 21. Februar 1995 erschien der unten wiedergegebene Artikel in der Newsgroup comp.lang.misc über die industrielle Verwendung der Programmiersprache Erlang. Dabei handelt es sich um eine Sprache, die Emerald in mehreren Aspekten ähnelt. Auch sie bietet die Möglichkeit zur verteilt parallelen Programmierung mit einer ähnlich unübersichtlichen Syntax. Ebenfalls wird die Geschwindigkeit einer nicht verteilten Programmiersprache versprochen.
In anderen Aspekten ist Erlang jedoch einen Schritt weiter. Erstens bietet sie eine Schnittstelle zu C-Programmen, zweitens wird sie tatsächlich in der Praxis verwendet.

Functional Programming Comes of Age

Ericsson announces 3 new products programmed in Erlang.

Why are we telling you this?

In this and other newsgroups we have followed the function/imperative programming language debate with amusement. It has been claimed that functional programming languages, languages with garbage collection or dynamically typed cannot be used to build "real" industrial strength real-time systems.

The time has come to put the record straight.

For the last few years Ericsson has been performing active product development in Erlang. For those of you don't know Erlang is a single assignment, dynamically typed, concurrent functional programming language with a real-time garbage collector [see below for more details].

(For those who don't know of Ericsson, we are a multinational manufacturer of telecommunications switching equipment. We have about 75000 employees active in more than 100 countries. Revenue in 1994 was 110 Billion USD.)

For commercial reasons we have not posted any information about these products or about the product developments. Ericsson has now formally announced these products and lifted various restrictions on our reporting technical details of these product - so now we can tell you what's *really* happening here.

Without going into all the details, we can summarise the main conclusions:

Details of each of these points will published at a later date.

The Products

Ericsson has announced three products written in Erlang. They are:
Mobility Server
A product which allows advanced business services which can be tailored according to customer needs. This was written for a Sparc/CPU40 with VxWorks + Erlang
Iso Ethernet
A product which allows real-time communications, such as videoconferencing, to be carried along existing Ethernet wiring this was written for a PC with OS/2 + Erlang
A network simulator. This was written for a Sparc workstation + Erlang.
The Mobility Server and Iso Ethernet products are part of 'Consono' which is a new family of Ericsson products aimed at business users.

The Ericsson Press Release

[[ this just covers the Mobility server and Iso Ethernet. The press release has been heavily trimmed to save space]]

~Date: Thu, 09 Feb 1995 14:07:00 +0100 ~Subject: Consono


Ericsson has launched a new family of voice, data and multimedia communications systems for private networks, under the brand 'Consono'. Consono brings together Ericsson's existing PBX and data networking solutions, and adds new and enhanced capabilities in a number of areas, including multimedia communications, mobile communications, business cordless communications, call centre systems and network management.

The central pillar of the Consono offering is a new version of Ericsson's MD110 digital PBX system. MD110 is already one of the world's best-selling large PBXs, with more than 8.5 million lines installed or on order in over 60 countries.

The new Consono MD110 PBX features a modular architecture, with separate modules looking after the basic switching applications, and modules for more advanced services which can be tailored according to customer needs. This architecture is a further development of the modularity already existing in MD110, which has made the system especially popular with organizations that want to run a unified communications network spanning several different sites.

... omitted ...

New support for multimedia applications

Another new feature of Consono is support for multimedia communications, including personal conferencing (i.e. applications for data and video conferencing) via desktop PCs. 'Consono Networked Interpersonal Multimedia' is based on the Consono MD110 PBX and includes ProShare, Intel's ISDN-based personal conferencing package, and isochronous Ethernet, an evolution of Ethernet, the world's most popular LAN technology.

Together with National Semiconductor, Ericsson has developed products based on iso-Ethernet which allow real-time communications, such as videoconferencing, to be carried along existing Ethernet wiring.

iso-Ethernet is completely compatible with existing 10Base-T Ethernet installations: Ethernet and iso-Ethernet users can share the same LAN segment; and it is also compatible with public network services such as ISDN. Dedicated communications channels from 64 kbit/s to 6 Mbit/s can be provided to the desktop on demand, as easily as making a telephone call.

.... omitted ...

Roll-out of Consono

Ericsson's Consono systems will be rolled out during the first half of 1995, in all the markets where Ericsson is currently active in the private networking field (some 60 countries).

.... omitted ...

Consono applications, including the Mobility Server, multimedia and advanced call centre applications, as well as the new network management systems, will be shown in public for the first time at the CeBIT exhibition in Hannover, in March 1995.

Consono is a registered trademark of Ericsson Business Networks AB ProShare is a registered trademark of Intel Corporation.

Ericsson's 75,000 employees are active in more than 100 countries. Their combined expertise in switching, radio and networking makes Ericsson a world leader in telecommunications.

.... omitted ...

[ end of press release ]


Netsim is a network simulator sold by Ericsson/Hewlit packard. NETSim simulates the operations and maintenance behavior of AXE Network Elements (AXE is a very large switching system product). NETSim simulates commands, printouts, alarms and files transfers. NETSim supports the Message Transfer Protocol (MTP) and communicates through a X.25 protocol.

About Erlang

"Functional Programming Comes of Age" Dick Pountain BYTE August 1994
"Concurrent Programming in Erlang", J. Armstrong, M. Williams & R. Virding, Prentice Hall, 1993. ISBN 13-285792-8.
Classification: Concurrent functional programming language for large industrial real-time systems. Dynamically typed. Pattern matching syntax. Recursion equations. Explicit concurrency, asynchronous message passing. Relatively free from side effects. Transparent cross-platform distribution. Primitives for detecting run-time errors. Real-time GC. Modules. Dynamic code replacement (change code in running real-time system, without stopping system). Foreign language interface.
Availability: Free version (subject to non-commercial license) with no support available to schools and universities. Commercial versions with support are available from Ericsson Infocom, Erlang Systems Division (

Frank Pilhofer <> Back to the Homepage
Last modified: Sun Apr 14 16:26:23 2002