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Python Programming Language Creator Retires, Saying: 'It's Been an Amazing Ride'

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Van Rossum said, "It's been an amazing ride to see this little hack of mine affect so many people in their lives."

Guido van Rossum, creator of the popular Python programming language, is heading into retirement.

Credit: Dropbox

Guido van Rossum, the creator of the hugely popular Python programming language, is leaving cloud file storage firm Dropbox and heading into retirement.

That ends his six-and-a-half years with the company, which hired in him in 2013 because so much of its functionality was built on Python. And, after last year stepping down from his leadership role over Python decision-making, that means the Python creator is officially retiring.   

His recruitment at Dropbox made sense for the tech company. Dropbox has about four million lines of Python code and it's the most heavily used language for its back-end services and desktop app.

According to Dropbox, in 2011, when van Rossum first met Dropbox CEO Drew Houston, the Dropbox server and desktop client were written "almost exclusively in Python."


Today, Dropbox also relies on Go, TypeScript, and Rust, as well as the open source Mypy static type checker that Dropbox develops to manage Python code at scale. Mypy helps developers overcome the challenge of understanding dynamically typed Python code written by other developers in the past.    


Python is now nearly 30 years old and, depending on which ranking index you read, it's the most widely used programming language in the world and underpins some of the biggest apps in the world, such as Instagram, which has also been working to tame Python at scale.

Dropbox said van Rossum has had a major impact on its engineering culture. 

"There was a small number of really smart, really young coders who produced a lot of very clever code that only they could understand," said van Rossum. "That is probably the right attitude to have when you're a really small startup."


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