Functional Geekery Episode 20 – Eric B. Merritt

In this episode I talk with Eric Merritt. We talk about his background in Erlang, static typing and using OCaml, as well as micro kernels, and the importance operations plays in the developer role.

Our Guest, Eric B. Merritt

@ericbmerritt on Twitter
[email protected]


Erlang Factory San Fransisco is coming up on the 26th-27th of March. Guest speakers include Alan Kay, José Valim, Robert Virding, Joe Armstrong, Mike Williams, John Hughes, Bruce Tate and many more. Listeners get a 10% discount when you use the code FnGeekery. To find out more visit

I will be giving an Introduction to Erlang workshop at LambdaConf 2015 in Boulder, Colorado. LambdaConf will be taking place the 22nd-24th of May, and has offered a 10% discount of registration with code LambdaConf-Functional-Geekery. For more information and to register go to


This episode is sponsored by For high quality videos on Clojure, from an intro to Clojure to an in depth look at core.async, Eric Normand has you covered. Videos are downloadable allowing them to be viewed offline and at your leisure, and include exercises to help ensure your learning through interaction. Listeners get a 25% discount off everything with coupon code GEEK. Visit, and make sure to thank them for being a sponsor.


Eric’s Background
Erlang Camp
Erlang and OTP in Action
Eric’s adventures in looking at a number of different languages
Martin Logan one of Eric’s co-authors on Erlang and OTP in Action
Martin J. Logan was a guest on Episode 13
Greenspun’s tenth rule applied to OTP
Erlang has a driver that is not about curiosity, but about scalability
Using a ! in Erlang to send a message is equivalent to using Assembly in C
“Erlang Runtime System is brilliant”
Why build a LISP on the Erlang VM
Core Erlang
Eric doesn’t love the lack of typing
Dialyzer and Success Typing
Dialyzer is sadly not a replacement for static typing
Static Typing is the next step from Garbage Collection for compliers
Erlang is typed at it’s core
Would love to write a language with static typing on the Erlang VM
Distribution of work between dynamic languages and statically typed languages
The importance of using -spec preprocessor in Erlang
Why Eric thinks static typing is extremely important
Eric’s move to use OCaml for his side work
Jane Street’s Async
Using AWS to offset the cost of not having Erlang’s concurrency in OCaml
The problems of lack of static typing as systems grow large
The feeling of confidence when an OCaml program compiles and passes it’s tests
Missing the idea of processes for modeling problem space in OCaml like Erlang has
Erlang on Xen and Mirage for OCaml
Erlang on embedded hardware
Running applications on bare hardware
BSD Rump Kernels
Amazon Machine Image
Open Stack
The move away from multi-user systems
Operations and Development are the same now
The importance of automating from time to check in to deployment
AWS Cloud Formation
Resources for understanding the actor model
Mozart Oz
Gambit Scheme
Thinking of Actor Model and distributed concepts as microservices
Eventual Consistency
CAP Theorem
Gossip Protocol
Vector Clocks
Concurrency is the future
Look for other articles on
Declarative approach to deployments
Keep and eye on rebar3 for Erlang
Beerly Functional Meetup

A giant Thank You to David Belcher for the logo design.

4 replies on “Functional Geekery Episode 20 – Eric B. Merritt”

Hi Proctor!

Thanks for putting the effort into this podcast. I like your topic and guest selection very much. One thing however which bothers me while I listen to this podcast is audio quality. I listen to the podcast through simple headphones during my commute outside surrounded by noise. This makes me crank up the volume all the way up to be able to hear the guest’s voice (which sometimes is very much distorted due to skype compression probably). Your voice in contrary comes very loud and painfully on my eardrums. Could you please revisit the post-production process and somehow normalize the guest’s voice volume with yours? You’re doing great job with the podcast! Please keep it going.


Thanks for the feedback. I have had a few people raise that issue, and I am working to try and get things a bit better for the balance of the audio as I continue putting out episodes. I did notice that the balance between the two did seem more drastic then they have been in a few episodes. I will be continuing to try and get this better as I go on, but please let me know how you think it is progressing.

Glad to hear you are liking the podcast.


Thanks! Look forward to new episodes. As a rule of thumb, I think, the guest’s voice can never be to loud 😉


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