Does Python have a CEO? Who makes the ultimate decisions regarding the future of the language? Is there an owner of Python? Who does the language belong belong to?
Python does not have a CEO, the closest to it is Guido van Rossum, who is the original creator of the language, the president of the Python Software Foundation and former “Benevolent Dictator For Life” of Python.
Guido van Rossum - Benevolent Dictator For Life
Python was created by Guido van Rossum in the late 1980s. It started out as a one-mann open source project, but not long after its creation the further development of the language turned into a community effort.
In 1995, not long after GvR joined the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI) he was appointed “Benevolent Dictator For Life”. This title started out as a joke, but it stuck, and van Rossum continued to have the final word in all design decisions regarding the evolution of Python.
What Are Python Enhancement Proposals?
The development of the core Python language is a huge undertaking, it would not be possible for one person to make all the decisions regarding new features and language structures. The process is guided by Python Enhancement Proposals (PEPs). PEPs are discussed and critiqued by the community, but the BDFL has the last word, when deciding the future of a proposal.
Resigning From BDFL
In 2018, after a long debate about the introduction of the so-called “walrus operator” (assignment expression), GvR stepped down from the post of BDFL, with the following note:
I would like to remove myself entirely from the decision process. I’ll 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.
New Benevolent Dictator For Life - GUIDO
There was a proposal to elect a new BDFL - only renaming the title to Gracious Umpire Influencing Decisions Officer (GUIDO), but the core developers decided to go form a steering council instead.
Python Steering Council
The Python Steering Council constits of 5 core developers, who exercise excessive rights regarding guiding the development of the language - basically filling in the role of CEO for Python.
- Barry Warsaw
- Brett Cannon
- Carol Willing
- Guido van Rossum
- Nick Coghlan
Python Software Foundation
Another important organization is the Python Software Foundation (PSF): it holds all the intellectual property rights for Python. Guido van Rossum also fulfills the role of Presidency in the PSF.
PSF’s goal is to protect and popularize the Python programming language.
Python is an open source project, it is not owned by a single individual or company. It does not have a CEO, but it’s governed by a council of five Python core developers.