Guido van Rossum
|Born||31 January 1956|
|Alma mater||University of Amsterdam|
|Occupation||Computer programmer, author|
|Known for||Creating the Python programming language|
|Awards||Award for the Advancement of Free Software (2001)|
Guido van Rossum (Dutch: [ˈɣido vɑn ˈrɔsʏm, -səm]; born 31 January 1956) is a Dutch programmer best known as the creator of the Python programming language, for which he was the "benevolent dictator for life" (BDFL) until he stepped down from the position in July 2018. He remained a member of the Python Steering Council through 2019, and withdrew from nominations for the 2020 election.
Van Rossum was born and raised in the Netherlands, where he received a master's degree in mathematics and computer science from the University of Amsterdam in 1982. He has a brother, Just van Rossum, who is a type designer and programmer who designed the typeface used in the "Python Powered" logo.
Van Rossum lives in Belmont, California, with his wife, Kim Knapp, and their son. According to his home page and Dutch naming conventions, the "van" in his name is capitalized when he is referred to by surname alone, but not when using his first and last name together.
While working at the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI), Van Rossum wrote and contributed a glob() routine to BSD Unix in 1986 and helped develop the ABC programming language. He once stated, "I try to mention ABC's influence because I'm indebted to everything I learned during that project and to the people who worked on it." He also created Grail, an early web browser written in Python, and engaged in discussions about the HTML standard.
He has worked for various research institutes, including the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) in the Netherlands, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI). In May 2000, he left CNRI along with three other Python core developers to work for tech startup BeOpen.com, which subsequently collapsed by October of the same year. From late 2000 until 2003 he worked for Zope Corporation. In 2003 Van Rossum left Zope for Elemental Security. While there he worked on a custom programming language for the organization. From 2005 to December 2012, he worked at Google, where he spent half of his time developing the Python language. In January 2013, he started working for Dropbox. In October 2019, Van Rossum officially retired before coming out of retirement the following year to join Microsoft.
In December 1989, Van Rossum had been looking for a "'hobby' programming project that would keep [him] occupied during the week around Christmas" as his office was closed when he decided to write an interpreter for a "new scripting language [he] had been thinking about lately: a descendant of ABC that would appeal to Unix/C hackers". He attributes choosing the name "Python" to "being in a slightly irreverent mood (and a big fan of Monty Python's Flying Circus)".
He has explained that Python's predecessor, ABC, was inspired by SETL, noting that ABC co-developer Lambert Meertens had "spent a year with the SETL group at NYU before coming up with the final ABC design".
In 1999, Van Rossum submitted a funding proposal to DARPA called "Computer Programming for Everybody", in which he further defined his goals for Python:
At Google, Van Rossum developed Mondrian, a web-based code review system written in Python and used within the company. He named the software after the Dutch painter Piet Mondrian. He named another related software project after Gerrit Rietveld, a Dutch designer.
Oh, and to top it all off, I'm going on vacation. I'm getting married and will be relaxing on my honeymoon.
... the internal web app, which I code-named Mondrian after one of my favorite Dutch painters
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