Python was created in the early 1990s by Guido van Rossum at Stichting Mathematisch Centrum (CWI) in the Netherlands as a successor of a language called ABC. Guido is Python's principal author, although it includes many contributions from others. The last version released from CWI was Python 1.2. In 1995, Guido continued his work on Python at the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI) in Reston, Virginia where he released several versions of the software. Python 1.6 was the last of the versions released by CNRI. In 2000, Guido and the Python core development team moved to BeOpen.com to form the BeOpen PythonLabs team. Python 2.0 was the first and only release from BeOpen.com.
Following the release of Python 1.6, and after Guido van Rossum left CNRI to work with commercial software developers, it became clear that the ability to use Python with software available under the GNU Public License (GPL) was very desirable. CNRI and the Free Software Foundation (FSF) interacted to develop enabling wording changes to the Python license. Python 1.6.1 is essentially the same as Python 1.6, with a few minor bug fixes, and with a different license that enables later versions to be GPL-compatible. Python 2.0.1 is a derivative work of Python 1.6.1, as well as of Python 2.0.
After Python 2.0 was released by BeOpen.com, Guido van Rossum and the other PythonLabs developers joined Digital Creations. All intellectual property added from this point on, including Python 2.0.1 and its alpha and beta releases, is owned by the Python Software Foundation (PSF), a non-profit modeled after the Apache Software Foundation. See http://www.python.org/psf/ for more information about the PSF.
Thanks to the many outside volunteers who have worked under Guido's direction to make these releases possible.