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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 @06:15PM (#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?

  • Re:Python VS PHP (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2012 @06:16PM (#42220989)

    The fact that the language is predictable and not error-prone out the ass, for one.
    PHP is exceptions wrapped in a language.

    I moved away from that crap the instant I found out how buggy that crapware is.
    A language developed by people who didn't even understand the difference between == and === has lost all hope of being taken seriously.
    And the fact that they even ARGUED against it is even more annoying.

    I know it gets linked ALL THE TIME in anything relating to languages, but it really needs to be read by every single person ever.
    PHP seriously needs to die already. It CANNOT be fixed.
    To use the tools in a box example, PHP is like hammering a nail with a sandwich. It is literally pointless and fruitless to even bother, because all you will end up with is pain, anger and annoyance in the end, and maybe literal bleeding hands after you smash either your keyboard, wall or monitor in frustration at how a language can somehow be worse than Visual Basic.
    PHP - a fractal of bad design [veekun.com]

  • Re:Python VS PHP (Score:5, Interesting)

    by H0p313ss (811249) on Friday December 07, 2012 @06:50PM (#42221311)

    Is that with or without a parachute? Because falling out of an airplane to a grizzy death doesn't sound so bad after you've been programming PHP all day.

    You think PHP is bad? Why in my day we used COM with VB and C++, uphill both ways.

    But just try telling that to kids these days. They'll never believe you.

  • Re:Pay Decrease? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2012 @08:06PM (#42221953)

    Python use within Google has been on the decline for years now. It's not exactly a secret that they discourage using it for new projects.

  • by tlambert (566799) on Friday December 07, 2012 @08:17PM (#42222063)

    Guido wasn't 'here's a box for you crap, you have five minutes before security escorts you out the door" fired. It was closer to 'we don't see a role for you here, quit now and save us both the hassle of having to let you go' type fired.

    He has really accomplished nothing since he was hired. And needless to say with Google actively replacing Python in the company with Go, he was acting like a petulant ass.

    Google is a strange place to work. It's entirely possible that, by the performance metrics they typically use, it was a mutual parting of the ways; I don't know, and unless you are on the performance review committee for his engineering subgroup, neither do you (and if you are, you should be keeping your mouth shut, instead of posting here, even as an AC). But assuming your theory is correct, don't mistake an organizational inability to effectively utilize his talents with him not having them.

    That said, your second paragraph is basically BS. Go never really caught on because it did not have a cross-platform library; the reason was that it insisted on directly trapping its system calls itself, which is great, if you aren't an engineer with a MacBook Pro trying to do work at home, and want the same system call semantics for e.g. "kill" or "sigaction". Hint: at the top of Libc on Mac OS, kill takes 2 parameters; at the user/kernel boundary, it takes 3 so the kernel knows whether it should use traditional Mac OS signal semantics, or use POSIX 1003.1-2001 semantics (same as Linux). Until they drop Mac OS X for Linux (probably still running on Apple hardware), or the Go folks fix their language binding to use LibSystem (Libc) instead of trapping their own system calls, I don't see that changing in favor of Go adoption any time soon.

    While Go is an "official language", along with C/C++ there are two others, one of which is Python, and not a lot of work was actually being done in Go. My last major project at Google was exclusively Python, and all of the testing infrastructure for Chrome OS is written in Python. One of the first classes you are offered as part of new employee orientation, apart from "How to use Perforce" is "Python Programming".

    Personally, I could see him leaving as being part of the generally publicly announced Larry Page effort to focus Google on working on fewer total projects, and on hiring for specific roles, instead of just hiring everyone who met the right level of smart, and figuring something for them to do afterwards. But frankly, I do not see increased focus fixing what Larry's attempting to fix with it. I suspect this is more likely than your theory.

    Either way, I expect his contributions at Dropbox will be valuable to them, and wish him luck there.

  • by AncientPC (951874) on Friday December 07, 2012 @09:07PM (#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.

  • Re:Pay Decrease? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hacker (14635) <hacker@gnu-designs.com> on Friday December 07, 2012 @11:07PM (#42222959)

    That's funny, because I just interviewed with Google last week for an SRE role, and they specifically wanted someone with hardcore Python and Java development experience, at the filesystem and kernel level. They're moving -everything- into those two language engines.

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