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Guido van Rossum Leaves 248

VladDrac writes "Guido van Rossum, the author of the Python programming language, announced at OSCON last night that he's leaving, to work for a new startup called 'Elemental Security', founded by Dan Farmer (known from several security tools such as Satan). Guido leaving will also probably mean that he will be no longer involved in Zope3 development, but hopefully he'll have more time to spend on Python development." Guido says that he's excited about his new employer, but that nothing substantial will change about Python as a result of the move. "It's just that I'll be working from the West coast." Python is "already quite secure," he says, and will be the basis of an upcoming security product ("just getting started") from Elemental.
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Guido van Rossum Leaves

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  • His goodbye posting (Score:5, Informative)

    by VladDrac ( 15111 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @11:59AM (#6400749) Homepage
    You can read his goodbye posting to the zope3 list here []
  • Typo (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @11:59AM (#6400752)
    "an (sic) security product"

    Please fix
  • by pen ( 7191 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @12:03PM (#6400788) /007598.html []

    Guido van Rossum
    Wed, 09 Jul 2003 10:24:54 -0400

    Dear Zope 3 developers,

    Last night at OSCON I announced that I am moving to California. I
    have accepted a new job at Elemental Security, a security software
    startup in San Mateo. You may have heard of one of the founders, Dan
    Farmer, who is the (co-)author of several well-known free security
    checking programs: Satan, Titan and The Coroner's Toolkit.

    Elemental is a brand new company, and I can't say much yet about the
    product, except that it will be aimed at enterprise security and use
    Python. I'm very excited about working with Dan on its design and

    I'm also excited about moving to California, which has long been a
    dream of mine. I'm looking forward to getting together with the many
    local Python users and developers once I'm settled; right now, my life
    and that if my family is total chaos because we're trying to find a
    home and move into it by August 1st.

    I will still have time for Python (it's in my contract) and I will
    continue to lead Python's development. The other PythonLabs folks:
    Fred Drake, Jeremy Hylton, Barry Warsaw and Tim Peters, are staying at
    Zope, by the way.

    But unfortunately, this move pretty much ends my involvement in Zope
    3. I've signed a contributors agreement, but with the new job and my
    Python work I don't expect to have much time for Zope. So this is
    also a goodbye, of sorts. I've enjoyed working with many of you, Zope
    3 developers, and I expect we'll run into each other at some future
    Python event.

    In the mean time, I'm here at OSCON with a busy schedule and limited
    access to my email, and the following weeks I will be in transition,
    so please be kind if I don't reply immediate when you write me.

    --Guido van Rossum (home page:

    PS. no longer works. Please use!
  • by gavri ( 663286 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @12:09PM (#6400832)
    "Python has been an important part of Google since the beginning, and remains so as the system grows and evolves. Today dozens of Google engineers use Python, and we're looking for more people with skills in this language." said Peter Norvig, director of search quality at Google, Inc
  • Re:Good times. (Score:4, Informative)

    by dagarath ( 33684 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @12:12PM (#6400852)
    The obvious reference to Python Web Site [] will give more information. Python often competes in the same space as perl. But, Python is probably more object oriented than perl. The difference being that python is OO from the ground up as opposed to perl where it was added late. Most of Redhat's installation tools and scripts are written in python. A 3d game a few years ago 'Blade of Darkness' was done with mostly python.
  • Re:Good times. (Score:5, Informative)

    by rRaminrodt ( 250095 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @12:21PM (#6400909) Homepage Journal
    Off the top of my head:
    Twisted - a web/chat/anything-you-can-name server
    Zope - Web Application/CMS type system
    bittorrent - you know about that one
    Red Hat uses Python in a lot of their scripts (I believe)
    NumPy - used for scientific applications (replacing/augmenting Matlab, fortran, etc)
    Karamba - KDE desktop eyecandy, written in C++ and scripted with python
    and some really bad stuff I've written for my own amusement. :-)

    Off course there's more, but I did say off the top of my head and I don't want to cheat. It's really a nice clean language, that really lends itself to prototyping but still can make great apps.

  • Re:Good times. (Score:5, Informative)

    by leshert ( 40509 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @12:23PM (#6400925) Homepage
    A 3d game a few years ago 'Blade of Darkness' was done with mostly python.

    There are a few more games that use Python... you might have heard of them:
  • by mjsiley ( 590026 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @12:33PM (#6400977)
    Python _is_ more object oriented then VB. VB6 is object based, since there is no inheritence. (and python supports single and multiple inheritance) Perl neater then Python? I love both languages but Python programs are amazingly more readable then Perl programs. Perl slower then Python? not in my experience. They are really close in performance. see, And have you done OO in Perl? compared to Python it's a pain. VB code 2-3x shorter then the Python version? I've had the exact opposite experience and usually the Python version is 5-10x shorter then the VB version.
  • by Zathrus ( 232140 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @12:35PM (#6400987) Homepage
    PhysicsGenius is a known troll... and it's amusing to see just how many moderators get caught by him. All of his posts have just enough in them to sound intelligent, but they're all very deeply wrong -- usually twisting the facts backwards (such as this one) or flying off into realms of thought usually reserved for the insane.

    Maybe some moderators with a clue will beat the grandparent post down now.

    On topic - I've known Perl for awhile and am starting to code in Python... the syntax is certainly cleaner, but the docs certainly aren't. To put it kindly, they suck. Yes, if I was sufficiently motivated then I could contribute instead of just bitching, but: A) I'm not, B) I don't know nearly enough Python yet to do it right. I find Perl's documentation to be layed out in a much more rational and useful structure. Shrug.
  • Re:Good times. (Score:5, Informative)

    by William Tanksley ( 1752 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @12:35PM (#6400989)
    Python is actually simpler than Perl -- it's designed to be so. HOWEVER, Perl is also designed to do many specific things very simply, so when you need to do one of those specific things it's the fastest way to get it done -- assuming, of course, that you already knew Perl could do it :-).

    I'm a Python fan, but I doubt Python will ever surpass Perl -- especially not by adding a "more logical parse tree", since it already has a very simple, consistent, and logical parse tree whereas Perl has more of a parse forest. Python and Perl are just too different; they compete in many areas, but their real strengths are far enough apart to keep them both viable in each other's presence.

    For info on what projects are being done in Python, see the lists at (Success Stories [], Python Users [], and Python Projects [])).

    Remarkable language, Python. Lovely plumage!

  • Re:Good times. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ikari Gendo ( 202183 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @12:54PM (#6401101) Homepage

    Guido seems to disagree. []

    GvR: In a strongly typed language, when you change to a different data structure, you will likely have to change the argument and return types of many methods that just pass these things on. You may also have to change the number of arguments, because suddenly you pass the information as two or three parts instead of one. In Python, if you change the type of something, most likely pieces of code that only pass that something around and don't use it directly don't have to change at all.

    Now you might be splitting hairs and saying that "static" means known at compile time and "strong" means type errors are always detected, but in common parlance "strong typing" includes static typing. For the pedants, there's Sebesta:

    ...we define a programming language to be strongly typed if type errors are always detected. This requires that the types of all operands can be determined, either at compile time or at run time.

    This criterion is met by very few real-world languages. Most imperative and object-oriented languages include type coercion [] which contradicts this property. It is interesting to note that future Python development is moving towards still stronger typing -- and, dare I say it -- functional-style constructs.

    Of course, the pragmatic thing to do is to understand strong/weak typing not as binary, but as a continuum. In this case, Haskell is more strongly typed than Ada is more strongly typed than Python is more strongly typed than C++ is more strongly typed than C is more strongly typed than FORTRAN. It looks like Python 3.0 will be moving up the chain, however.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @12:57PM (#6401117)
    Yes, Guido is leaving on good terms. There is no conspiracy here, he just wanted to move to California. I'm sure his email won't just bounce, but this is his way of saying, please don't use it any more. He prefers his address.
  • by Whip-hero ( 308110 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @01:11PM (#6401233) Homepage
    Python is "already quite secure," he says, and will be the basis of an upcoming security product ("just getting started") from Elemental.

    I'd like to point out a thread that I found a little while back on Python-Dev about Guido's decision to remove the rexec module (similar to the Java sandbox):

    posting 1 []

    and Guido's reply:

    posting 2 []

    A little bit further down that thread we find this:

    posting 3 []

    Since this last one is particularly telling, I will quote the relevant text for our impatient readers:

    I think Guido's rationale for removing all these features will be widely misunderstood. Me channeling him: it is not that he believes that the architectures developed were inherently incapable of providing security. Instead, he feels that no "expert" for these matters has reviewed these architecture for flaws, and that the continuing maintenance of these things isn't going to happen.

    If this understanding is correct, then any new approaches will likely suffer from the same fate. Unless somebody steps forward and says: "I am a security expert, and I guarantee that this and that feature is secure (in some documented sense)", then I think he will dislike any changes that mean to provide security.

    So this not a matter of engineering but of authority. Somebody must take the blame, and Guido doesn't want to be that someone.

    Disclaimer: I love python. However, I am working on a project that depends on rexec, and when I discovered that it was being removed, I was a little annoyed - especially at the reasoning behind the decision.

  • A shame (Score:5, Informative)

    by GeorgeH ( 5469 ) * on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @01:12PM (#6401249) Homepage Journal
    Zope is a very cool web application system, and while I don't know of Guido's specific contributions I have to assume that they were great. Still, I'm confidant that Zope will carry on.

    For those not familiar with Zope, it is a web application server written entirely in Python. It features an object database that, for example, lets you create an image object, and then call it from other code to automatically build your image tag based on the dimensions and title of the image stored in the object.

    It's open source, developed both by the Zope community [] and the Zope corporation []. There are at least two kick ass, open source content management systems built on top of Zope Corp's content management framework [] that I know of: Plone [] and Silva []. There are a ton of add-on products [] that are downloadable too.

    Zope does have a pretty steep learning curve, if you don't do stuff with "real" web applications (stuff that needs access control lists, user management, templating, etc) it might not be right for you, but it's great for bigger applications. Edd Dumbill talks in a recent blog entry about why Zope is worth learning [] and DevShed (which runs on Zope) has a good overview [].

    Guido and Dan Farmer are both smart guys and I'm sure that we can expect good things.
  • Re:Good times. (Score:4, Informative)

    by axxackall ( 579006 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @01:41PM (#6401445) Homepage Journal
    What other projects are being done in Python?

    Other guys are mentioning many projects, but I want to emphsize on three project, IMHO the most important to illustrate the power of Python:

    • Zope [] - IMHO the best ever written application server, thanks to laziness and OOP of Python;
    • Plone [] - this portal is the best software written for Zope's CMF; Zope would stay popular only among hackers if there would be no Plone;
    • Portage [] - the best ever written package management system; I doubt ebuilds and eclasses would be that flexible and power without Python;
  • by sketerpot ( 454020 ) < minus pi> on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @02:36PM (#6401885)
    Python already has a sort of system [] in place for block delimiters. Mind you, it's rather ugly, so I don't use it.
  • Re:Jumping WAY OT (Score:2, Informative)

    by pen ( 7191 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @03:03PM (#6402109)
    Yes, and are related, but they are not the same thing. They run different scripts that were written by the same person, but they are not the same site. Both are forks of the original IRC Quote Database that was located at

    list of new features at []

    (Please don't mod offtopic; The parent's author doesn't provide any way to contact him privately.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @03:15PM (#6402224)
    He's been quite involved with some aspects of Zope 3 development, but it doesn't spell a slow painful death. Speedbump would be my (anonymous coward :) best evalution, though it certainly is a loss.

If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.