Python creator Guido van Rossum quits Dropbox, triggering his retirement

Chris Merriman
clock • 2 min read

But he's not an ex-programmer. He has not ceased to be.

PYTHON WRANGLER Guido van Rossum has announced his retirement. The news is the final curtain on the career of the man behind the world's most popular programming language.

Van Rossum is leaving Dropbox, where he has spent the last six years as their Python Charmer in residence, a natural fit for a platform built, in no small part, in Python - the language he created and declared himself ‘Benevolent Dictator for Life' (BDFL).

Last year, he stepped down from his role in managing Python itself,  handing over responsibilities to a Python Council, meaning he's free and clear of responsibilities. Nice work if you don't need it.

One of van Rossum's main challenges at Dropbox was teaching staff who had written ‘cowboy code' that was impossible for future developers to decipher, to write sustainably.

Python first landed 29 years ago and one of its main aims was to make code readable using whitespace, and through clear, logical lines of code.

Currently in its third iteration, 2020 will be a big one for Python, as it plans to end support for Python 2 after twenty years, on January 1st, following an extension. After that time, there'll be no security patches or bug fixes.

From that point, only versions 3.5+ of Python will be supported. As ever with EoL products, there's a lot of unmigrated code out there, but given this switch off has been postponed for five years, it's not about to be given another stay of execution.

Van Rossum started out working on BSD Unix back in 1986. He also helped develop the ABC Programming Language.

Before joining Dropbox in 2013, Van Rossum had been a Python Wrangler at Google, where he'd also spent 50 per cent of his time maintaining the language.

But it's Python that will stand as his greatest contribution. Hopefully, as he steps down, he'll get to see it go from strength to strength, but from the comfort of his home, with his wife and child.

Oh - and since you ask, yes - Van Rossum confirms that the language is named after Monty Python. μ

You may also like
CISA warns about unsafe open source projects

Open Source

'Most' projects are open memory corruption security flaws

clock 28 June 2024 • 3 min read
The prosumer problem: Explaining IT to users who think they get it


‘There’s a consumer expectation on an enterprise platform’

clock 26 June 2024 • 3 min read
Post Office set to sign £180m deal with Fujitsu to extend the life of Horizon system, report


Thorough testing of new in-house IT system is important before its full rollout, it says

clock 03 June 2024 • 3 min read

More on Software

The social engineering of the self: How AI chatbots manipulate our thinking

The social engineering of the self: How AI chatbots manipulate our thinking

We need structured public feedback to better understand the risks, says red teamer Rumman Chowdhury

John Leonard
clock 27 October 2023 • 4 min read
AI doesn't care what you think

AI doesn't care what you think

Want to understand hallucinations? Look at your family

Professor Peter Cochrane
clock 26 October 2023 • 3 min read
IT Essentials: The fungal IT network

IT Essentials: The fungal IT network

Shadow IT grows best in darkness and solitude

Tom Allen
clock 16 October 2023 • 2 min read