Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Sun Microsystems' Co-Founder and Chief Scientist Resigns

Sun Microsystems' Co-Founder and Chief Scientist Resigns "Mr. Joy said that he had no immediate plans to return to business, but that he might not stay on the sidelines for long. Over the years, he said, he has often talked with his friend John Doerr, general partner of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and one of Silicon Valley's leading venture capitalists, about backing his next commercial enthusiasm. "And Scott may well be an investor," Mr. Joy said of Mr. McNealy.
Still, Mr. Joy emphasized that he did not plan to think too seriously about business for another year or so.
In spring 2000, just before the technology bubble on Wall Street burst, Mr. Joy write a lengthy pessimistic essay for Wired magazine, titled "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us." In the article, he wrote, "The 21st century technologies — genetics, nanotechnology and robotics — are so powerful they can spawn whole new classes of accidents and abuses."
His dark vision of self-replicating nanobots running amok touched off a lively debate in technology circles and Mr. Joy signed up to write a book elaborating his views.
The book project, according to Mr. Joy, is not going well. "It's in remission," he said. "I don't have a manuscript that I'm pleased with."
Mr. Joy's one firm intention seems to be to return to his creative roots. "I'd like to write some software in a team of one, writing code alone," Mr. Joy said. "That's the way it started for me at Berkeley."
It was at the University of California at Berkeley in the late 1970's and early 1980's that Mr. Joy first demonstrated his prowess with computers. As a graduate student, he was the principal designer of Berkeley Unix, or BSD, and it was distributed freely, much as open-source software like Linux is today.
Mr. Joy was also the programmer who took the nascent Internet communications protocols, TCP/IP, and incorporated them, debugged and honed for performance, into Berkeley Unix, establishing the Internet's open protocols as the networking standard at universities."
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