The creator of the Python programming language Guido van Rossum has joined Microsoft as part of the company’s Developer Division.
Van Rossum, who began work on Python in 1989 and is today credited with founding one of the world’s most popular and fastest-growing programming languages, announced the move on Twitter yesterday (12 November).
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“I decided that retirement was boring and have joined the Developer Division at Microsoft.” van Rossum Tweeted.
“To do what? Too many options to say! But it’ll make using Python better for sure (and not just on Windows). There’s lots of open source here. Watch this space.”
The news came as a surprise to many, not least because van Rossum retired in October last year, after working as a Principle Engineer at Dropbox for almost seven years.
A Microsoft spokesperson said: “We’re excited to have him as part of the Developer Division. Microsoft is committed to contributing to and growing with the Python community, and Guido’s on-boarding is a reflection of that commitment.”
Van Rossum has maintained an active role in the development of Python since he stepped down as the language’s ‘benevolent dictator for life’ (BDFL) in late 2018.
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He remains active in Python development circles and is the president of the Python Software Foundation, which oversees the language.
His creation is a technical tour de force, rapidly gaining popularity amongst developers and becoming almost the de facto language within data science, machine learning and other emergent fields.
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It also plays a pivotal role in helping Netflix stream videos to more than 100 million homes worldwide, powering the photo-sharing phenomenon Instagram, and aiding NASA’s space-exploration endeavors.
Various indexes charting the use of programming languages around the world have put it in a close contest with C and Java in recent years, with the latest Tiobe index suggesting that Python has finally overtaken Java to become second most widely-used language. C remains in the top spot, according to the index.
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Tiobe CEO Paul Jansen said at the time: “Some time ago I had a flat tire and called the road patrol to help me out. The mechanic asked about my living and when I used the word ‘software’ in my answer, he smiled and started talking very enthusiastically about his own passion: Programming in Python. From that moment on, I knew Python would become ubiquitous.”