Bill Joy

2011 Fellow

For his work on the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) Unix system and the cofounding of Sun Microsystems

"The best way to do research is to make a radical assumption and then assume it's true."

— Bill Joy

Bill Joy was born in Farmington Hills, Michigan, in 1954 and received his B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan and an M.S. in electrical engineering and computer science (EECS) from UC Berkeley (1979). As a Berkeley graduate student, Joy was a seminal figure in the creation, support, and rollout of BSD UNIX, an open-source operating system that was the first to have built-in TCP/IP networking.

With Vinod Khosla, Scott McNealy, and Andreas Bectholsheim, Joy co-founded Sun Microsystems, one of the leading workstation and server companies of the 1980s and 1990s, and a key player in the Internet boom and development of the Web. While at Sun, Joy was a key contributor to a number of Sun technologies, including the Solaris operating system, SPARC microprocessor architecture, and the Java programming language.

Joy left Sun Microsystems in 2003. Since 2005, he has been a partner at the Menlo Park, California-based venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, where he participates in their green technology investment practice.

Joy is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a lifetime trustee of the Aspen Institute.


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