Mark Pilgrim

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Mark Pilgrim
Mark Pilgrim.jpg
Born (1972-11-24) November 24, 1972 (age 49)
Alma materCornell University
Occupationsoftware developer, Technical writer
EmployerBrave Software, Inc.[1]
Notable work
Dive into * series (archived)

Mark Pilgrim is a software developer, writer, and advocate of free software. He authored a popular blog, and has written several books, including Dive into Python, a guide to the Python programming language published under the GNU Free Documentation License. Formerly an accessibility architect in the IBM Emerging Technologies Group,[2] he started working at Google in March 2007.[3] In 2018, he moved to Brave.[4][failed verification]

Early life[edit]

In 1992, while a sophomore of Cornell University and a part-time employee of a Cornell computer center, Pilgrim and another student, David Blumenthal, embedded a computer virus, "MBDF",[5] into three games that were transferred to an archive at Stanford University, causing disruption to computers internationally.[6] The origin of the virus was traced,[7] and Pilgrim and Blumenthal were arrested on the misdemeanor charge of "second-degree computer tampering". The two students were found guilty, ordered to pay restitution to those affected and perform ten hours of community service every week for a year.[8]

Books and articles[edit]

Dive into Python[edit]

Pilgrim's book Dive into Python is a teach-by-example guide to the paradigms of programming in Python and modern software development techniques. It assumes some preexisting knowledge of programming, although not necessarily in Python. The first edition was published in 2004 (ISBN 1-59059-356-1), and a 2009 second edition (ISBN 9781430224150) covers Python 3. Both are available online as well as in print.[9][10]

Much of the book consists of example programs with annotations and explanatory text, and it generally describes how to modify an example to serve new purposes. One early example program reads through a directory of MP3 files and lists the header information, such as artist, album, etc. Other topics covered include object oriented programming, documentation, unit testing, and accessing and parsing HTML and XML.

Other works[edit]

Pilgrim has also written a monthly column Dive into XML for O'Reilly's

Open source work[edit]

Pilgrim contributed to a number of open source works including

Pilgrim was a vocal critic of Creative Commons licensing, which he believed needlessly cluttered the licensing environment of open source software.[12]

"Disappearance" from the Internet[edit]

From 4 October 2011, Mark Pilgrim's various websites (, Dive into HTML5, Dive into Accessibility, Dive into Greasemonkey, Dive into Python, etc.) returned HTTP status 410 Gone.[13] He also deleted his Twitter, Reddit, Google+ and GitHub accounts.[14][15] On 5 October 2011 Jason Scott tweeted that Pilgrim himself was "alive/annoyed we called the police".[16] Commenting on the event, a writer for The Economist wrote that the concern showed for Pilgrim's well-being demonstrated that "the internet, often mocked as impersonal and uncaring, can be quite the reverse."[13]

Both Pilgrim's actions in October 2011 and why the lucky stiff's similar disappearance in August 2009 have been described as "infosuicide".[17][18][19]

The incident was reminiscent of Pilgrim's 2004 hiatus from blogging, which lasted approximately 18 months. In 2004, rather than deleting his content, he posted a short entry entitled "Every Exit" in which he said, "It’s time for me to find a new hobby. Preferably one that doesn’t involve angle brackets. Or computers. Or electricity."[20]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "IBM developerworks: Making emerging technologies accessible". Retrieved 2007-03-22.
  3. ^ "Two visions: Blog post at Mark's official site". 2007-03-19. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved 2007-03-22.
  4. ^ "Learn About Brave and Our Team". 2018-11-23. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  5. ^ Ray, John; Ray, William (2003). Mac OS X Maximum Security. Sams Publishing. p. 171. Retrieved 2013-01-28. MBDF.
  6. ^ Vigoda, Ralph (27 February 1992). "2 Charged In Computer Virus Case". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  7. ^ "Accused Students Worked for Cornell". New York Times. 26 February 1992. Retrieved 2013-01-28.
  8. ^ Edgar, Stacey L. (2003). Morality and Machines: Perspectives on Computer Ethics. Jones & Bartlett Learning. p. 227. ISBN 9780763717674. Retrieved 2013-01-28.
  9. ^ Mark Pilgrim (2000–2004). "Dive into Python: Python from novice to pro". Archived from the original on 19 September 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  10. ^ Mark Pilgrim (2001–2009). "Dive into Python 3". Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  11. ^ Trapani, Gina (2005-05-13). "Dive into Greasemonkey". Lifehacker. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  12. ^ Paul, Ryan (February 27, 2009). "Want to waive copyright? Creative Commons has a tool for you". Ars Technica. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  13. ^ a b G.F. (October 10, 2011). "Status Code 410: Gone". The Economist. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  14. ^ Searching For Mark Pilgrim, Eric Meyer
  15. ^ Hacker News.
  16. ^ "Mark Pilgrim is alive/annoyed we called the police. Please stand down and give the man privacy and space, and thanks everyone for caring." [1]
  17. ^ [2], Christopher T. Miller
  18. ^ "Mark Pilgrim, author of many 'Dive into ...' books and guides, has — as the saying now goes — 'committed infosuicide' [...]" Searching For Mark Pilgrim
  19. ^ 410 Gone – Thoughts on Mark "diveintomark" Pilgrim's and _why's infosuicides, Scott Hanselman
  20. ^ Every Exit, Mark Pilgrim (

External links[edit]