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Erlang on Raspberry Pi, starting with a fresh Raspberry Pi OS image (even Lite will do). Erlang takes about 20 minutes or more to compile (when you run "make").

You can try erlang 26.0 Release Candidate 2 if you want to help the erlang team to test the upcoming [1] release.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install wget
sudo apt-get install libssl-dev
sudo apt-get install ncurses-dev
tar -xzvf otp_src_25.3.tar.gz
cd otp_src_25.3/
sudo make install
cd ..
rm otp_src_25.3.tar.gz
sudo rm -R otp_src_25.3/

You start the interactive shell with erl and quit with Ctrl-g q. Read about Erlang at [2] and [3] and [4] There are also lots of languages running on top of the Erlang virtual machine [5].



There is a very nice graphics library written in Erlang. It makes a perfect match if your application is written in Erlang and you are using a small screen where you don't want a window manager. The screen in the image is an Adafruit 5" Touchscreen 800x480. Erlang ex11 is writing directly to the screen (X11 server or Mir). Experience soft realtime graphics. Get it here [6]

To help create new widgets there is a small program included in ex11 to convert DXF-files to erlang ex11 drawing primitives. Download or draw your own graphics in a CAD system and save as DXF. Convert the DXF file with dxf2erl:start("filename.dxf"). from the erlang console.

The DXF file can be created in LibreCAD [7], QCAD [8], FreeCAD [9], OpenSCAD [10] and other CAD systems. Entities with higher thickness will be drawn last. Closed polylines will be filled areas in ex11.


Erlang is using ports to communicate with all the different hardware that you are connecting to your Raspberry Pi. In the image to the right I am using an ex11 line graph widget to show the load on my mains meter in the basement. The Erlang Port I'm using is programmable in the language Forth, read more about it here Forth. The fact that it is programmable makes it possible to read multiple sensors and command multiple actuators simultaneously and it is even possible to programmatically re-program the port from a running Erlang application. It is also very handy to debug because you can start the port standalone and issue commands to it in its own console window.


You can also use TCP sockets to communicate with devices. A nice socket server is the pigpio daemon . Easy to integrate in your Erlang application. More about this at


start() -> Pid = spawn_link(?MODULE,init,[]), {ok,Pid}.

init() ->
        io:format("New process: ~p~n", [?MODULE]),
        {ok,Socket} = gen_tcp:connect(?PIGPIO_IP, ?PIGPIO_PORT, [binary,{packet, 0}]),
        ok = gen_tcp:send(Socket,c(setmode,25,0)),
        ok = gen_tcp:send(Socket,c(getmode,25)),
        %callback:make(self(),33554432), % Start a callback to monitor pin 25 on a dedicated socket
        %timer:send_interval(10*1000, {timer}),

loop(Socket) ->
                % {timer} -> ok = gen_tcp:send(Socket,c(br1)),
                %         ?MODULE:loop(Socket);
                {tcp,Socket,Data} ->
                {kwh,Sec} when Sec > 0 -> 
                        W = 3600000000 div Sec,
                        io:format("W: ~p~n",[W]),
                Any -> io:format("~p got unknown msg: ~p~n",[?MODULE, Any]),

% pigpio response
parse(_Socket,<<>>) -> ok;
parse(Socket,<<0:?UINT,P1:?UINT,P2:?UINT,0:?UINT,Rest/binary>>) ->
         io:format("setmode pin ~p mode ~p~n",[P1,P2]),
parse(Socket,<<1:?UINT,P1:?UINT,_P2:?UINT,P3:?UINT,Rest/binary>>) ->
         io:format("getmode pin ~p mode ~p~n",[P1,P3]),
parse(Socket,<<2:?UINT,P1:?UINT,P2:?UINT,0:?UINT,Rest/binary>>) ->
         io:format("setpullupdown pin ~p pud ~p~n",[P1,P2]),
parse(Socket,<<3:?UINT,_P1:?UINT,_P2:?UINT,P3:?UINT,Rest/binary>>) ->
         io:format("read ~p~n",[P3]),
parse(Socket,<<4:?UINT,P1:?UINT,P2:?UINT,0:?UINT,Rest/binary>>) ->
         io:format("write pin ~p level ~p~n",[P1,P2]),
parse(Socket,<<10:?UINT,_P1:?UINT,_P2:?UINT,P3:?UINT,Rest/binary>>) ->
         io:format("readbits 0-31 ~.2B~n",[P3]),
parse(Socket,<<17:?UINT,_P1:?UINT,_P2:?UINT,P3:?UINT,Rest/binary>>) ->
         io:format("hver ~p~n",[P3]),
parse(_Socket,Response) -> io:format("Error: ~w~n",[Response]).

% pigpio commands
%c(hver) -> <<17:?UINT,0:?UINT,0:?UINT,0:?UINT>>;
%c(br1) -> <<10:?UINT,0:?UINT,0:?UINT,0:?UINT>>;
c(read,Gpio) -> <<3:?UINT,Gpio:?UINT,0:?UINT,0:?UINT>>;
c(getmode,Gpio) -> <<1:?UINT,Gpio:?UINT,0:?UINT,0:?UINT>>.
c(setmode,Gpio,Mode) -> <<0:?UINT,Gpio:?UINT,Mode:?UINT,0:?UINT>>; % Input = 0, Output = 1
c(write,Gpio,Level) -> <<4:?UINT,Gpio:?UINT,Level:?UINT,0:?UINT>>;
c(setpullupdown,Gpio,Pud) -> <<2:?UINT,Gpio:?UINT,Pud:?UINT,0:?UINT>>. % Off = 0, Down = 1, Up = 2