Recently, Guido van Rossum, creator and leader of the Python programming language announced, quite out of the blue for the distant pythonista, that he was resigning from his role as the leader of the project, the well-known BDFL.
This is no small news as Guido has created the language far back in the early 90s and has stuck with its community forever since.
What saddened me was to see that he left to a certain degree due to the harhness of the the discussion around PEP 572. All things considered this PEP doesn’t seem like it should have involved such an outcome, yet it did. As a community we ought to reflect on this event. I assume this is not just a single PEP that forced GvR to make that decision but after years of fighting, maybe that one went too far.
I started with Python back in 2001 with a first personal project, an IRC client for Python. The code is long gone (and that’s probably better for my ego). But, I do recall joining the #python channel back then, asking a newbie question and being left with a feeling I was stupid. I left that channel and never came back. But I stuck with Python, as a language, because it is such a pleasure to work with (even though, back then I mostly had to work on Zope and Plone. Ouch).
When I joined the CherryPy project a year later, I found a very welcoming community and, when I created the according IRC channel a couple of years later, I always made sure that newbies wouldn’t felt the way I had. If a given question is asked repeatedly, I think it’s best to question our documentation quality rather than the person who asked. That led me to propose a new documentation for the project a few years ago.
In all those years, I worked at various companies and learnt different new languages, some I had a lot of fun with (for instance erlang was really sweet to learn from and a couple of years ago, I played a little with Clojure with some interests). But, for my personal projects, I always ended up with Python. This language is so powerful and versatile. It’s not better in every contexts but does a fine job to find the balance between capabilities, readability, maintanability and performance. Its ecosystem is rich and some of its communities are really nice and kind.
So, thank you Mr van Rossum and all the folks leading the project. Not only have you given me tools to build my carreer but you also made it fun for so long and even more so with recent Python 3 versions. I hope you’ll stick by the project for a long time!