Guido van Rossum

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Guido van Rossum
Guido van Rossum OSCON 2006.jpg
Van Rossum at OSCON 2006
Born (1956-01-31) 31 January 1956 (age 60)
Haarlem, Netherlands[1][2]
Nationality Dutch
Alma mater University of Amsterdam
Occupation Computer programmer, author
Employer Dropbox[3]
Known for Creating the Python programming language
Spouse(s) Kim Knapp (m. 2000)
Children Orlijn Michiel Knapp-van Rossum[4]
Awards Award for the Advancement of Free Software (2001)

Guido van Rossum (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈɣido vɑn ˈrɔsʏm, -səm], born 31 January[5] 1956) is a Dutch programmer who is best known as the author of the Python programming language. In the Python community, Van Rossum is known as a "Benevolent Dictator For Life" (BDFL), meaning that he continues to oversee the Python development process, making decisions where necessary.[6] He was employed by Google from 2005 until 7 December 2012, where he spent half his time developing the Python language. In January 2013, Van Rossum started working for Dropbox.[3]


Van Rossum was born and raised in the Netherlands, where he received a master's degree in mathematics and computer science from the University of Amsterdam in 1982. He later worked for various research institutes, including the Dutch Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI), Amsterdam, the United States National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, Maryland, and the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI), Reston, Virginia.

Personal life[edit]

Guido van Rossum is the brother of Just van Rossum, a type designer and programmer. Just van Rossum designed the typeface that is used in the "Python Powered" logo. Guido lives in Belmont, California with his wife, Kim Knapp,[7] and their son, Orlijn.[8][9][10]


While working at the Stichting Mathematisch Centrum (CWI), Guido van Rossum wrote and contributed a glob() routine to BSD Unix in 1986.[11][12] Van Rossum also worked on the development of the ABC programming language. He also created the early Grail web browser which was written in Python and engaged in discussions about the HTML standard.[13]


Van Rossum at the 2008 Google I/O Developer's Conference.

About the origin of Python, Van Rossum wrote in 1996:

Over six years ago, in December 1989, I was looking for a "hobby" programming project that would keep me occupied during the week around Christmas. My office ... would be closed, but I had a home computer, and not much else on my hands. I decided to write an interpreter for the new scripting language I had been thinking about lately: a descendant of ABC that would appeal to Unix/C hackers. I chose Python as a working title for the project, being in a slightly irreverent mood (and a big fan of Monty Python's Flying Circus).[14]

In 2000 he further wrote:

Python's predecessor, ABC, was inspired by SETLLambert Meertens spent a year with the SETL group at NYU before coming up with the final ABC design![15]

Computer Programming for Everybody[edit]

In 1999, Van Rossum submitted a funding proposal to DARPA called Computer Programming for Everybody, in which he further defined his goals for Python:

  • an easy and intuitive language just as powerful as major competitors
  • open source, so anyone can contribute to its development
  • code that is as understandable as plain English
  • suitability for everyday tasks, allowing for short development times

Python has grown to become a popular programming language. As of November 2011, it was the 3rd most popular language on the GitHub social coding website.[16] According to a programming language popularity survey[17] it is consistently amongst the top 10 most mentioned languages in job postings. Furthermore, Python is consistently[clarification needed] in the top 10 most popular languages according to the TIOBE Programming Community Index.[18]


Not to be confused with Mondrian (software), data visualisation software, or Mondrian OLAP server.

While working for Google, Van Rossum developed Mondrian, a web-based code review system written in Python and used within the company. He named the software after the Dutch painter Piet Mondrian.[19] He named another related software project after Gerrit Rietveld, a Dutch designer.[20]


In December 2012, Van Rossum joined the cloud file storage company Dropbox.[21]



  1. ^ "Old interview – Guido van Rossum". Retrieved 28 January 2014. I only took some time to visit my family in Haarlem. 
  2. ^ "Schoolbank profile". Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Constine, Josh. "Dropbox Hires Away Google's Guido Van Rossum, The Father Of Python". Techcrunch. Retrieved 7 December 2012. 
  4. ^ "Guido van Rossum". CodeCall Programming Wiki. Archived from the original on 31 October 2008. 
  5. ^ van Rossum, Guido (31 January 2007). "(Python-Dev) Happy Birthday, Guido!". Python-Dev mailing list. 
  6. ^ "Benevolent dictator for life". Linux Format. 1 February 2005. Archived from the original on 1 October 2006. Retrieved 1 November 2007. 
  7. ^ Manheimer, Ken (6 June 2000). "(Python-Dev) Guido and Kim married". Python-Dev -- Python core developers. 
  8. ^ "Guido van Rossum - Brief Bio". 
  9. ^ "(Mailman-Announce) forwarded message from Guido van Rossum". Oh, and to top it all off, I'm going on vacation. I'm getting married and will be relaxing on my honeymoon. 
  10. ^ van Rossum, Guido. "What's New in Python?" (PDF). "Not your usual list of new features". Stanford CSL Colloquium, 29 October 2003; BayPiggies, 13 November 2003. Elemental Security. 
  11. ^ "'Globbing' library routine". Archived from the original on 19 December 2007. 
  12. ^ "File::Glob - Perl extension for BSD glob routine". 
  13. ^ "Re: xmosaic experience". 
  14. ^ "Foreword for "Programming Python" (1st ed.)". 
  15. ^ "Python-Dev] SETL (was: Lukewarm about range literals)". 
  16. ^ " Top Languages". Archived from the original on 23 July 2013. 
  17. ^ "Programming Language Popularity". 
  18. ^ "TIOBE Programming Community Index for November 2011". November 2011. 
  19. ^ van Rossum, Guido (May 2008). "An Open Source App: Rietveld Code Review Tool". Retrieved 24 August 2012. ... the internal web app, which I code-named Mondrian after one of my favorite Dutch painters 
  20. ^ "An Open Source App: Rietveld Code Review Tool". Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. 
  21. ^ "Dropbox Tech Blog » Blog Archive » Welcome Guido!". 7 December 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2013. 

External links[edit]