If Guido was hit by a bus?

Michael McLay (mclay@eeel.nist.gov)
Wed, 29 Jun 94 10:07:42 EDT

What if you saw this posted tommorrow.

> Guido's unexpected death has come as a shock to us all. Disgruntled
> members of the Tcl mob are suspected, but no smoking gun has been found...

I just returned from a meeting in which the major objection to using
Python was its dependence on Guido. They wanted to know if Python
would survive if Guido disappeared. This is an important issue for
businesses that may be considering the use of Python in a product.

I suspect that someone else would probably pick up the Python banner
if Guido dropped dead of exhaustion or if he is rubbed out by a member
of a rival language following. I wouldn't bring it up, but managers
of projects weigh risk heavily in selecting technology and they want
to know who owns Python. (They also prefer to have someone to hold
accountable when something goes wrong.) There also appears to be a
perception that commercial vendors are a lower risk because they have
a vested interest to continue to support a product and academic
research projects are a high risk because the product can disappear
when a researcher's interest change or they moves to a new job. (BTW,
what will be the fate vpApp?)

A somewhat related topic is one of getting the official blessing of a
standards organization for Python. Lots of businesses are
uncomfortable using languages that are not blessed by a standards
organization. Procurements are easier if you can just call out a
standard as a requirement. It also makes it possible to have a
third party perform conformance testing.

Turning Python into a standard might not be very difficult or costly
if it could be done as an Internet standard. The rules for
participating in the IETF standard process should appeal to the Python
followers. Look at the following gopher document for details.


Is there any interest in formalizing the standard definition of

Michael J. McLay
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Bld 220 Rm A357 (office), Bld 220 Rm B344 (mail)
Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899, (301)975-4099