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Creator of Python Joins Google – Can He Help Boost Its Open-Source Offerings?

Guido Van Rossum Now Works in the Googleplex

Dutch-born Guido van Rossum (pictured), the founder and creative power behind the ever popular Python programming language has accepted an offer from Google - a huge user of Python. "I wonder if this heralds Google finally upgrading from Python 2.2," quipped one wit on the comp.lang.python newsgroup.

The key technical person for opensource at Google isn't von Rossum though, it is Greg Stein. Stein's contributions to open source have been very wide-ranging, and he's been Google's engineering manager for opensource for quite a while now. He's also chairman of the Apache Software Foundation - and the VP of the ASF is also a Google employee. So he will not be without allies.

Even so, the code that has been directly released by Google to date is relatively slender. So van Rossum will need all his acumen.

Greg Stein comments, on comp.lang.python:

"Yeah... we recognize that we could certainly open-source more of our software. While we've released some stuff (, there is a LOT more that we want to do. Getting engineers' 20% time to do that has been difficult. Thankfully, we know how to fix that and got the okay/headcount to make it happen. (IOW, it isn't a lack of desire, but making it happen)

But even if we haven't been able to open-source as much code as we'd like, we *have* been trying to be very supportive of the community. Between the Summer of Code and direct cash contributions, we've provided a LOT of support to a large number of open source organizations. And we have a couple other ideas on how to help the open source community. We're working on it!"
The impact on Python of van Rossum's move from the Dutch National Research Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science to Google is difficult to gauge. His central role in deciding the direction of Python till now has led to his being nicknamed its Benevolent Dictator for Life (BDFL). 

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