How can smaller, more independent languages compete with those backed by tech giants?

  • Do you think it’s worth worrying about?
  • Do you think it’s going to be an even bigger issue in future?
  • If so what can the teams of smaller more independent languages (and frameworks) do to compete?

I have some ideas that doesn’t involve deep pockets - but curious to hear what you think :upside_down_face:


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Not at all. Most languages out there are not backed by corporations and they are doing amazingly well.

  • OCaml is mostly used and extended by Jane Street but it is still being actively changed by scientists and hobbyists.
  • Rust is backed by a foundation but started off as a bunch of hobbyists.
    Elixir is still not backed by a corporation and it enjoys a steady slow growth to this day.
  • F# wasn’t corporate-backed at the beginning as well.
  • Zig is mostly the brain-child of a single person and is highly praised.

Examples abound. If anything, I’d claim the opposite: the more corporately backed a language is, the more it gets warped to the needs of the corporations that back it and that’s not a good thing.

One example: Golang is backed up by Google and it suffers a number of embarrassing incidents like elementary mistakes in its crypto and HTTP libraries.

Nobody can predict the future but if programming becomes strongly regulated down the line then yes, lack of corporate backing might be fatal. At the moment this isn’t a problem at all though.

Awesome and amazing tooling. Elixir, Rust and Zig are a shining example. It’s not enough your language to be really good (LISP, OCaml) but it also has to have very good package manager, task runner etc. (cargo for Rust, mix for Elixir). Python is hugely popular yet it suffers from basic lack of tooling to this day.

If you make your programming users’ lives easier then will flock to your language.

Nothing in particular except for something rather vague from me:

Watching Rust and OCaml showed me that some scientific (mostly mathematical and logical) training pays huge dividends. Some Rust core functions and 3rd party libraries utilized particular breed of state machines (finite state automatons I think) to optimize regexes and concurrent / parallel processing with crushing success. And others are starting to sit on top of those extremely solid foundations.

Just an opinion: a bit more formal training and higher education need to make a comeback to the professional programming. Otherwise everybody is reinventing the same half-broken wheel all the time.


hi @dimitarvp -

that sounds worrying. What would be regulated? I’m thinking encryption … ?

Another interesting point!! As tech advances at the speed of light the industry might just need people to upgrade their formal qualifications every number of years. The Java community is only starting to shuffle out of its deep sleep for the past 10 years. New concepts need to be learned now like - Functional Programming, Reactive Streams, Java modules, and more.
I have often heard programmers being compared to doctors. Doctors are also constantly in a learning state, otherwise they would be treating patients with outdated techniques. Do you think programmers should have licenses ? … I just has a NullPointerException thrown in my brain when I wrote that,
What kind f formal training are you thinking about?


Real, true mathematics. Constraint solving. Probabilistic calculations and algorithms. Calculations of the limits of functions (property testing kind of does that but not really).

Parallel processing of complex graphs – just one strong innovation here can make most compilers on the planet 6x faster.

There are many examples.

I’m not a mathematician. But nowadays I wish I was. Math has a lot of stuff for us to learn from. Modern programming reinvents wheels and tears them apart on a regular basis.

I feel that we can do so much better.


I’ve been thinking about brushing up on maths (though I think I’ve pretty much forgotten everything - even though maths was my strongest subject in school!)

Perhaps we should add this to our list of potential book clubs…


yep - I could certainly do with a math refresher course, or ten.


was just thinking of that book right now. It looks interesting, a lot of theory though?


I’m not sure tbh Finner - it’s from 2013 but I guess mathematics is pretty timeless :joy:


That book’s summary sounds a bit too playful and all over the place for me…


Really? I hadn’t read the back cover (which is what PragProg post in their threads here) and it actually sounds right up my street :smiley:

Mark begins his journey with the basics of numbers, with an entertaining trip through the integers and the natural, rational, irrational, and transcendental numbers. The voyage continues with a look at some of the oddest numbers in mathematics, including zero, the golden ratio, imaginary numbers, Roman numerals, and Egyptian and continuing fractions. After a deep dive into modern logic, including an introduction to linear logic and the logic-savvy Prolog language, the trip concludes with a tour of modern set theory and the advances and paradoxes of modern mechanical computing.

If your high school or college math courses left you grasping for the inner meaning behind the numbers, Mark’s book will both entertain and enlighten you.

I generally prefer books to start at the basics, as that way I can easily skip the stuff I know (a lot harder to do when they start some way ahead of you).

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That “entertaining trip” is giving me the vibe that the book is for kids. Math is not fun per se and people should not pretend that it is! If you like math, you like it and then it is fun for you – no need to try and cheat you into it with this “fun” stuff. :stuck_out_tongue:

But to be fair, I am pretty sure I can brush up 4th - 12th grade of math in a week (even bought some used local math teaching books several months ago). I am more interested in actual applicable math. But I’ll need a really good guide. That’s the tricky part.

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that’s exactly what I’ve been thinking about, for both maths and physics. But aint gonna happen this year … probably will be my retirement hobby :rofl:


Dude, don’t say it. :cry: I really want to make use of all that knowledge BEFORE it’s already too late for it to make a difference in my life (and career).

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…alternatively NEVER retire ! :muscle:


Capitalism dream. Never make use of your retirement fund, just give them money until you die, and die while working. They love it!