Benevolent Dictator For Life

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Benevolent Dictator For Life or BDFL is a title given to a small number of open source software development leaders. The term was coined in 1995 to refer to Guido van Rossum, creator of the Python programming language.[1][2] The BDFL resolves disputes or competing arguments within the community. The title originated shortly after van Rossum joined the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI). It first appeared on a follow-up mail by Ken Manheimer to a meeting trying to create a semi-formal group overseeing Python development and workshops.[1]

BDFL should not be confused with the more common term for open source leaders, "benevolent dictator", which was popularized by Eric Raymond's essay Homesteading the Noosphere.[3] Among other topics related to hacker culture, Raymond elaborates on how the nature of open source forces the "dictatorship" to keep itself benevolent, since a strong disagreement can lead to the forking of the project under the rule of new leaders.

Examples of people sometimes so entitled


  1. 1.0 1.1 Guido van Rossum (July 31, 2008). "Origin of BDFL". Retrieved 2008-08-01. 
  2. "Python Creator Scripts Inside Google". Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  3. Eric S. Raymond. "Homesteading the Noosphere". Retrieved 2008-08-01. 
  4. "The Four Hundred--Next Up on the System i: Python". Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  5. Guido van Rossum "Benevolent dictator for life". Linux Format. 2005-02-01. Retrieved 2007-11-01. 
  8. "Ubuntu founder defuses rumors of impending Microsoft deal". Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  9. "Django committers". 
  10. "DjangoCon Article". Retrieved 2008-09-09. 
  11. "Dries set to be married!". 
  12. "Urban Dictionary: BDFL". 
  13. "The Way I Work". Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
  14. "Continuous Integration with Hudson". 
  15. "Describing Drizzle's Development Process". 
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