1.x was maintained by a single person who was, probably, the only person who truly understood how the codebase worked. (3.x had SERIOUS teething problems, too, and is still not the standard dialect as a result of flaws in the design and implementation processes.)
Are you still talking about Python here? I'm pretty sure more than just Guido van Rossum understood how the codebase worked. Given that CPython is frequently accused of being too naive an implementation for the modern world, to claim that only one person understood it is pretty contentious, especially when there were probably dozens of contributors even in the 1990s.
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