Chris's coding blog

Talk: Software has become too complicated

May 04, 2019

Below is an entertaining talk by Joe Armstrong from 2014, one of the creators of Erlang (the language behind WhatsApp). He talks about how complicated software is in the year 2019, in comparison to the first ever software program - which he refers to as “probably the first and last program that was ever correct”.

As an ex-physicist he weaves a lot of physics into the talk, and describes how computers should be booting in 60 nanoseconds, and are over 1000x faster than they were in the 1980s.

The talk goes on to talk about battling the reverse entropy that we have got into through software which is where it is most interesting. His first example right at the start of the talk is Node’s build tool Grunt - he was lucky he didn’t need to get webpack working. He talks about how we have over 2500 software languages we now, achieving the same thing, and how just three variables in Javascript have more states than there are atoms on Earth.

Sadly Joe passed away last week.


I'm Chris Small, a software engineer working in London. This is my tech blog. Find out more about me via GithubStackoverflowResume