The history of Python starts with ABC. This doesn't mean the "American Broadcasting Company" nor
the New Wave band ABC, but the programming language ABC. ABC is a general-purpose programming language
and programming environment, which had been developed in the Netherlands, Amsterdam, at the CWI (Centrum Wiskunde
& Informatica). The greatest achievement of ABC was to influence the design of Python.
Python was conceptualized in the late 1980s. Guido van Rossum worked that time in a project at the CWI, called Amoeba, a distributed operating system. He programmed in ABC. In an interview with Bill Venners (January 2003), Guido van Rossum said: "I remembered all my experience and some of my frustration with ABC. I decided to try to design a simple scripting language that possessed some of ABC's better properties, but without its problems. So I started typing. I created a simple virtual machine, a simple parser, and a simple runtime. I made my own version of the various ABC parts that I liked. I created a basic syntax, used indentation for statement grouping instead of curly braces or begin-end blocks, and developed a small number of powerful data types: a hash table ( or dictionary, as we call it), a list, strings, and numbers. "
So, what about the name "Python": Most people think about snakes, but the name has something to do with excellent Britisch humour. Guido van Rossum, the creator of Python, wrote in 1996 about the origin of the name of his programming language: "Over six years ago, in December 1989, I was looking for a 'hobby' programming project that would keep me occupied during the week around Christmas. My office ... would be closed, but I had a home computer, and not much else on my hands. I decided to write an interpreter for the new scripting language I had been thinking about lately: a descendant of ABC that would appeal to Unix/C hackers. I chose Python as a working title for the project, being in a slightly irreverent mood (and a big fan of Monty Python's Flying Circus)."