After more than 20 years at Sun Microsystems, co-founder and Chief Scientist Bill Joy is leaving the company, Sun announced Tuesday.
Joy, once called the "Edison of the Internet" by Fortune Magazine, is the leading designer of some of Sun's key technologies, including Solaris software, Sparc microprocessors and Java technology. He was the designer of the Berkeley version of the Unix operating system, now known as BSD, which became a foundation of the Internet. He cofounded Sun in 1982.
Joy said in a statement he was proud of his accomplishments and of the strong team Sun has built. "For 21 years, I've enjoyed the opportunities for innovation provided to me at Sun, but I have decided the time is now right for me to move on to different challenges," he said in the statement.
Sun did not disclose in its four-paragraph press release on Joy's departure what he plans to do next.
"Bill will continue to be an inspiration to all innovators," said Scott McNealy, co-founder, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Sun, in the statement. "Bill's many contributions ... have helped define Sun as one of the most innovative and inspired places on the planet. We thank Bill for the strong legacy of innovation that he leaves in the hearts and souls of every Sun employee."
Joy earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1975. He received a master's degree in electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California at Berkeley, where he was the lead designer of Berkeley Unix.
Joy also served as co-chairman of the Presidential Information Technology Advisory Committee, appointed by President Clinton in 1997. In April 2000, he published a much-debated article in Wired Magazine, called "Why the future doesn't need us." The article argued that some new technologies, including robotics, genetic engineering, and nanotechnology, could make humans an endangered species.
Joy's responsibilities will transition to Greg Papadopoulos, chief technology officer and executive vice president at Sun.