As anybody who watches this space knows, we’ve been pouring increasing amounts of love on dynamic languages recently. Well, er, on Ruby, to be precise. But you know, Ruby’s not the only game in town. So, as of this morning, noted Pythonista Ted Leung and Jython lead Frank Wierzbicki are joining Sun.

Python logo

Plus, we’re sponsoring PyCon and have applied to join the Python Software Foundation (it turns out you not only have to contribute, you have to get voted in).

So, what are these guys going to be working on? I’m not sure. While we’re using Python internally for OpenSolaris IPS, nobody would call us real experts on the language. So my opinion is that Frank and Ted need build bridges to the community and figure out how we can help; if we can pitch in as well with Python as we have with Ruby, that’d be a win/win I’d say.

Quick Python trivia question: Near as I can tell, Guido works half-time on Python over at Google. Is there anyone in the world, aside from Frank and Ted, getting paid to work full-time on Python?


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Rick Copeland (Mar 03 2008, at 07:35)

Jim Hugunin ( gets paid to work on Python (IronPython, at least).


From: Paul Prescod (Mar 03 2008, at 08:21)

That's great news! I'm sure Sun will be an excellent contributor to the community. As far as people working full-time on (rather than in) Python: the closest I can think of are people doing research on implementation techniques who use Python as their testbed. Or at least that's how they pitch it to their funders.

I've always been mystified at Sun's indifference to Jython which was really hot shit in 1997. Microsoft has had better outreach to Python since around 1999. Microsoft!?!? Sun has the lead developer of Jython (and congratulations!) but Microsoft employs the inventor of Jython. That's not to say that Frank is a less significant hire than Jim, but rather that the hire is a decade late.

Okay, but time to let bygones be gone.

I'd suggest that the main thing Sun can do for Python now is to help legitimize it in enterprisey Java shops. That probably would involve a bit of technology, a bit of marketing and some standards work.


From: Joe Cheng [MSFT] (Mar 03 2008, at 08:21)

Jim Hugunin and the rest of the IronPython team at Microsoft?


From: Dan (Mar 03 2008, at 08:42)

Congrats--I've been hoping Sun would get behind dynamic languages in a big way, and you're getting some great people.

Dtrace probes + cpython/jython==great.


From: Rangachari Anand (Mar 03 2008, at 09:08)

Excellent! So will you now fix the numerous deficiencies in the Jython JSR223 engine and distribute Jython with the JDK?


From: (Mar 03 2008, at 09:19)

Well if Sun is giving Python some love, then someone should tell them and you that "Python" the name has NOTHING TO DO WITH SNAKES. Nothing. Nothing. Do you know anything? Or is just whatever the hell you want to think you say and do.

OMG - why are geeks so useless at communication.

If you have any frigging question about this, CONTACT GUIDO, who gave the language it's highly unfortunate name to begin with.


From: Nicola Larosa (Mar 03 2008, at 09:55)

This announcement warms my heart. Thank you! :-)

I don't know whether it qualifies, but here it is:

"Starting in March, I’ll be spending the majority of my time working on Django."

Sailing on...

Django is one of the foremost Python web frameworks, an important part of the Python ecosystem, and arguably better than Rails. Oops. ;-P


From: Paul Prescod (Mar 03 2008, at 10:20)

Python is frequently associated with snakes. The official Python logo has two snakes in it. Snake puns are just as common in the Python community as are Monty Python puns.

In any case, it's a pretty silly thing to complain about when one of the most influential companies in the tech space adopts a widely loved technology.


From: John Heintz (Mar 03 2008, at 11:04)

Wow, fantastic news!

Python has always been my preferred dynamically typed language, I can't wait for more Jython support (language, compiler, and tools!)

With JRuby and Jython getting official support from Sun there is a log of dynamic language love now, I wonder if functional languages will get support in the future as well...

(What would Sun support for Erlang or Scala look like. Interesting times!)



From: Harry Fuecks (Mar 03 2008, at 11:24)

Don't know what his status is or whether there'd be a good fit for Sun but think Mark Hammond ( deserves some note, for thankless work in writing and maintaining pywin32 ( ) as well as what he does for PyXPCOM ( ).


From: Brett Cannon (Mar 03 2008, at 11:48)

This is great news! This finally means all of the major implementations of Python have (or have had in the case of PyPy) some paid development time.

And as everyone has said Jim Hugunin gets paid to work on IronPython, but I believe he spends the majority of his time on the DLR and as dynamic language evangelist for .NET.

In terms of CPython, Guido is the only core developer directly paid to work on Python. Everyone else does indirectly through either free time at work (e.g., 20% at Google) or coming across something directly related to work.


From: Zooko (Mar 03 2008, at 11:50)

Yes, nothing whatsoever to do with snakes. See the official Python logo, for example, which has a stylized representation of Terry Gilliam (blue) and John Cleese (yellow).

Way to go, Sun, for starting to take dynamic languages seriously! I have to echo Paul Prescod that you are pretty damn later to the party, but oh well -- better late than never.

Python is the best dynamic language for Sun to use because (a) Jython and (b) the broadest and deepest pool of resources: mature libraries, tools, programmers, etc..

You are, of course, going to face an immune reaction from Java diehards who still remember the glory days when linguistic purity was the future ("100% Pure Java", anyone?). I assume that this immune reaction and the resulting conflict has already happened or is still happening inside Sun, but I can't tell from out here.


Zooko, who switched from Java to Python in 1999 and has never looked back


From: Fredrik (Mar 03 2008, at 13:16)

"I've always been mystified at Sun's indifference to Jython which was really hot shit in 1997."

In the late nineties, Sun considered Java to be the last language you'd ever need. Sun evangelists posted articles that speculated that we'd soon have more Java programmers than people on this planet (no, I'm not kidding). I'd tried talking to language folks at Sun about JPython; there was some enthusiasm in the trenches, but everyone else was just "meh".

Things have indeed changed a bit since then.


From: Donal (Mar 03 2008, at 13:39)

I just read Ted's post on joining Sun, and your part in that. Good work Tim :)


From: Tony Fisk (Mar 03 2008, at 14:50)

Good news. My personal experiences with Ruby and Python make me prefer the latter, but both enjoy strong popular support, and this is *not* the place to come for an argument!


From: Matej Cepl (Mar 03 2008, at 16:23)

Two comments:

a) After switching from Debian to Fedora (it had something to do with getting job at Red Hat ;-)) I was very happily surprised how much of Fedora is actually written in Python. I don't know how much actual contribution to the language itself we give, but at least there is so much code created in Python, that it has to value for something as well (at least PR value). And it is MUCH better to hack on Python than to try to deal with Perl (which was still dominant language for Debian tools).

b) It is just luck, but I was trying to do something with jython just yesterday (apparently nobody has written ODBC driver or something for hsqldb, so the only way how to get there is with JDBC) and found out hard way that actually it is not a good language FOR ME. The point which is not enough mentioned in jython docs is that it is not Python for python programmers who need something from Java (as most of the standard Python library doesn't work), but it is more decent language for Java programmers who hate Java. The difference which hit me pretty hard was that jython uses for allmost everything (heck, even "import re" doesn't work) Java objects. Which is fine and good for Java programmers but not for me.


From: Charlie Groves (Mar 03 2008, at 20:07)

"The difference which hit me pretty hard was that jython uses for allmost everything (heck, even "import re" doesn't work) Java objects"

I'm one of the Jython developers, and Jython tries pretty hard to work both as an alternative for Java developers that would like some Python in their lives and Python developers that need some Java in their lives. We've ported a large portion of the CPython stdlib to Java and are adding more all the time. 'import re' definitely works in recent vintages of Jython.


From: Giacomo (Mar 04 2008, at 00:28)

Finally some good news! Thanks Tim, Jython did really need a boost.

Too bad you weren't at Sun in the 90s but hey.


From: Heimo Laukkanen (Mar 04 2008, at 02:14)

Good news, hopefully this also means that collaboration with JVM and Python also increses and more effort would also be put to get Jython on the same level as JRuby.

I love the Java-infrastructure and tools that it gives to us, but do see great value in batteries included scripting languages like Python.

Oh, and would prefer Python over Ruby any day :-D


From: Matej Cepl (Mar 04 2008, at 03:06)

Actually apologies to jython folks. This is known Red Hat packaging bug --


From: Robin Dunn (Mar 04 2008, at 18:52)


Now who do I talk to about getting Sun interested in some of the popular Python extensions like, um... wxPython? <wink!> (Note: if you don't recognize my name then see my address for why I'm winking.)


From: Ze'ev (Mar 05 2008, at 00:00)

As a veteran Java programmer and a recent Python enthusiast I was waiting for this.

This is really good news for the Java and Python communities.

I think Java and Python although being very different programming languages, share the same underlying principals of explicit code and a community process.

I am looking forward to start using NetBeans again once there will be Python/Jython support (similat to the very good JRuby editing capabilities).


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March 03, 2008
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