Python Turns 30. A Steering Council Member Reflects

Today is the 30th anniversary of the Python programming language, “which has never been more popular, arguably thanks to the rise of data science and AI projects in the enterprise,” writes Venture Beat.

To celebrate the historical releases file has been updated to include Guido van Rossum’s original 0.9.1 beta release from 1991. (Its ReadMe file advises that Python 0.9 “can be used instead of shell, Awk or Perl scripts, to write prototypes of real applications, or as an extension language of large systems, you name it.”)

And meanwhile, VentureBeat interviewed Pablo Galindo, one of the five members of the 2021 Python Steering Council and a software engineer at Bloomberg:
VentureBeat: What’s your current assessment of Python?

Galindo: Python is a very mature language, and it has evolved. It also has a bunch of things that it carries over. Python has some baggage that nowadays feels a bit old, but the community and the ecosystem has to be preserved. It’s similar to how C and C++ are evolving right now. When you make changes to the language, it’s quite dangerous [because you can] break things. That’s what people are scared of the most.

But even though Python is quite old, there are big changes. The Python 3.1 release for this October will include pattern matching, which is one of the biggest syntax changes that Python has seen in a long time. We can learn from other languages. I think we’re happy to say that we are still evolving and adapting. We have a good experience with respecting the importance of backwards compatibility.

VentureBeat: If you could be Python king for a day, what would you change?

Galindo: I would be a horrible King for a day. The first order of business would be to fix all these things that we have acquired over the years in the language. That would require breaking a bunch of things. Obviously, I will not do that, but I think one of the things I really would like to see in the future is for Python to become faster than it is. I think Python still has a lot of potential to become faster. I’m thinking this will be impossible. But one can dream.

VentureBeat: What do you know now about Python today that you wish you knew when you first began using it?

Galindo: I think the most important thing I learned is how many different uses there are for Python. It’s important to listen to all these sorts of users when considering the evolution of the language. It’s quite surprising and quite revealing to consider how changes or improvements will conflict or will interact with other users of the language.

That’s something that when I started I didn’t even consider. It would be good if people could be empathetic to us changing the language when we have to balance these things.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here