Friday, 13 July 2018 08:09

Python author steps back from leadership of project


The author of the Python programming language says he is stepping back from his primary role as leader of the project and removing himself entirely from the decision-making process.

Dutchman Guido van Rossum, 62, said he would most like to take a step back from being involved in Python Enhancement Proposals (PEPs) and how new core developers were inducted.

In a post to the python-committers mailing list, van Rossum wrote: "Now that PEP 572 is done, I don't ever want to have to fight so hard for a PEP and find that so many people despise my decisions."

He said he would like to "still be there for a while as an ordinary core dev, and I'll still be available to mentor people – possibly more available.

"But I'm basically giving myself a permanent vacation from being BDFL, and you all will be on your own."

The acronym BDFL stands for benevolent dictator for life, a role that the leaders of many open-source projects adopt. The head of the Ubuntu Linux project, Mark Shuttleworth, often refers to himself as SABDFL – self-appointed benevolent dictator for life.

Van Rossum developed Python in 1989 while looking for a vacation programming project and deciding to write an interpreter for a new scripting language.

He said in his post that he was not going to appoint a successor. "I'm not worried about the day to day decisions in the issue tracker or on GitHub. Very rarely I get asked for an opinion, and usually it's not actually important. So this can just be dealt with as it has always been."

Van Rossum said the two main things that mattered in the project were the decisions on PEPs and the way that new core developers were inducted.

"We may be able to write up processes for these things as PEPs (maybe those PEPs will form a kind of constitution)," he said. "But here's the catch. I'm going to try and let you all (the current committers) figure it out for yourselves."

He said he was tired and needed a very long break. Plus, he noted that he was not getting younger, adding "I'll spare you the list of medical issues".


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.



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