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Python Creator Guido van Rossum Leaves Google For Dropbox 261

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-just-typed-import-guido dept.
New submitter mrvan writes "Guido van Rossum, the proclaimed Python Benevolent Dictator For Life, has left Google to work for Dropbox. In their announcement, Dropbox says they relied heavily on Python from the beginning, citing a mix of simplicity, flexibility, and elegance, and are excited to have GvR on the team. While this is, without a doubt, good news for Dropbox, the big question is what this will mean for Python (and for Google)."
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Python Creator Guido van Rossum Leaves Google For Dropbox

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  • by afgam28 (48611) on Friday December 07, 2012 @07:15PM (#42220979)

    And what did he use to do at Google? Did he work on Python only in his spare time or did Google pay him to hack on it?

  • Big Question? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by folderol (1965326) on Friday December 07, 2012 @07:16PM (#42220987) Homepage
    Why? Maybe he just wanted a change, and wasn't especially concerned about the pay - people do that you know. Sometimes job satisfaction is what does it. Sometimes a fresh set of challenges. Money is severely over-rated as a driver.
  • FUD, and more FUD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kergan (780543) on Friday December 07, 2012 @07:26PM (#42221095)

    Best I'm aware, Python was important for Google long before Guido got hired by Google. He was the cherry on the pie, if anything.

    As such, it means absolutely nothing for Google, bar that they lost someone who they may have wanted to keep in-house.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    and break every script they have

  • Gut reaction? (Score:4, Informative)

    by blamelager (1152861) on Friday December 07, 2012 @07:50PM (#42221327)

    In my case, was that Google are moving away from Python. Also see the last answer here:-

    http://stackoverflow.com/questions/2560310/heavy-usage-of-python-at-google [stackoverflow.com]

    Perhaps there are some anonymous Googlers out there that are brave enough to comment?

    • by hanwen (8589)

      AFAIK, nobody ousted Guido from the company, and he was just looking for something new.

      At Google, Python is popular for all kinds "operations" scripts, eg. scripts that help start up production jobs, or interact with version control systems. For production systems (ie. user-facing systems), it is not popular, since its performance sucks, and python programs are fragile. More complex programs have tons of dependencies, and other teams change dependencies from under you all the time. With a dynamic language l

  • There could be more to this story, given the interest from the Linux community.

    There is an on-going discussion, or rather expression of frustration with Google, going on in the Google groups regarding Google Drive and the lack of support for Linux See here: https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/drive/j_SmC6bMsEo/discussion%5B276-300%5D [google.com]

    Could that be the reason behind the departure?

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Friday December 07, 2012 @08:15PM (#42221533)

    So... file sharing companies like dropbox are getting litigated out of business and shut down by the feds left and right... and yes, I see pirated shit on dropbox accounts all the time... but Google is poised to be one of the most powerful companies and history... that just seems foolish. Of course, he might know something we don't...

    • by dbIII (701233)
      Well, Dropbox has got a long way on hype and a fairly shitty and insecure front end to Amazon storage, so who knows how far they could go with a solid product that's actually more secure than twenty year old vanilla FTP? They could end up as big as gmail.
      • You're not getting it. They are going to get shut down by the feds any day now. Here's an email I just got from them today:

        Dropbox Links let you share files or folders (of any size) with anyone, even if they're not using Dropbox

        Sharing files is a huge pain - you have to compress, attach, upload, and a bunch of other verbs that are a waste of your time. Forget that! We just invented the best way to get stuff from your computer to the rest of the world.

        Happy Dropboxing!
        - The Dropbox Team

        That's got "Future MegaUpload" written all over it.

        • by dbIII (701233)
          Back when they had their deduplication security hole they were the best file sharing site on the planet. With just a filename and a checksum the file was yours no matter who on dropbox had it and not matter what privacy settings they thought they had. People were getting their cams of current movies quickly that way without having to wait for a torrent to come in.
    • I thought it was more ironic that Google has just introduced Drive this year, their own Dropbox replacement.

  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Friday December 07, 2012 @08:31PM (#42221679) Homepage Journal

    I realize it's only speculation, but that's all we get with Google products. One minute it's a product, the next it's EOL. Or perhaps App Engine stays but the Python support gets phased out in favor of Java. Google products do sometimes lose features over time - the thread on why Google Docs took away table cell merging is a funny read if you get software freedom.

    • by styrotech (136124)

      I realize it's only speculation, but that's all we get with Google products. One minute it's a product, the next it's EOL. Or perhaps App Engine stays but the Python support gets phased out in favor of Java.

      AppEngine originally seemed like Java was the first class language and Python was the second class one, then that switched around with Python getting more love and the Java support stagnating. Now they both seem neglected in favour of Go. It wouldn't surprise me if AppEngine becomes Go only at some stage

      • App Engine itself is closed! It's telling that google isn't involved much with any open cloud initiatives.
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Friday December 07, 2012 @08:49PM (#42221815) Homepage Journal

    For the language, not much, as no matter where Guido ends up python is still his baby. And even if he got hit by a bus or something the language will continue on without him.

    What does it mean to Guido? Well only he can answer that but i would imagine he was ready for a change in scenery. I dont think he is in it for the money anymore and doesn't have to work unless he wants to.

    What does it mean to Google, not much there either, they used it before he got there, and im sure will use it after hes gone.

  • by AncientPC (951874) on Friday December 07, 2012 @10:07PM (#42222387)

    Google's search engine was originally in Python, but the company has since moved on to use Java on the front end, C++ on the back end, and Python has been relegated to glue code.

    On the other hand, Dropbox has been using Python for its entire stack. I believe they made a few performance related contributions to CPython as well.

    Guido is a great engineer (besides being a language designer), and still writes a lot of code. He probably would get more satisfaction working at a growing company where Python is a first class citizen rather than at Google.

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