Python Origins

Tim May tcmay at
Sat Dec 9 08:02:54 CET 2000

In article 
< at>, 
akuchlin at wrote:

> On Wed, 06 Dec 2000 17:06:55 -0800, Nathan Gray <nospam at> 
> wrote:
> >It's really upsetting how often I've seen this sort of response to a 
> >polite
> >question on this newsgroup lately.  Tell me, what's so terrible with 
> >asking a
> >group of experts for pointers when researching a subject?  It's a 
> >perfectly
> >legitimate and highly effective way to learn about something.  There's 
> >plenty
> I've noticed this trend, too, though T.C. May, the person you're
> replying to, has always had a low tolerance for cluelessness, as I
> noted when lurking on the cypherpunks mailing list in the early 90s;
> May's posts were often informative and entertaining, but not often
> placid.  (I was pleased to turn up here, though I'm not sure why he's
> taken up Python.)

I used to use Lisp when I ran an AI project for Intel. Later, I took up 
Smalltalk. A bunch of friends of mine are doing crypto and digital cash 
sorts of apps in a mixture of C and Java but with Python as the 
scripting/glue language. The first anonymous remailers were done in 

I'm very interested in Python vs. Ruby vs. Smallscript (a forthcoming 
scripting language) for some projects I'm interested in.

Does this explain my interest?

I did some work on simulated annealing while at Intel, which is why I 
commented in the SA thread. (A friend of mine worked for Scott 
Kirkpatrick, the "father of simulated annealing," at IBM Yorktown 

As to my tolerance for cluelessness, it's not so much impatience as 
simple advice: nearly _every_ garden variety inquiry about "what's the 
history of Python?" and that sort of thing should first be submitted to 
a search engine. Thus was it so five years ago, and thus is it so in 
spades today.

--Tim May

--Tim May, Corralitos, California

Language interests: Smalltalk (Squeak), Lisp, Mathematica
Machine: Macintosh G4/G3 Powerbook
Project interests: evolutionary programming, games (Go), agents, cryptology

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