George Paolini

Vice President of Technology Advocacy and Community Development, Sun Microsystems

George Paolini is regarded inside Sun Microsystems as an executive with "a quiet demeanor," and not the type that has always gotten ahead there.

But Paolini, more than any other individual, has been responsible for putting the Java technology building process on an even footing and building confidence among Suns competitors that it will work to the benefit of the industry as a whole.

Paolini gives credit to Jon Kannegaard, the sometimes- confrontational former second-in-command of the Java Software Division, for getting the Java Community Process started.

But not everyone believes the process would be functioning with the level of cooperation among the many strong competitors involved today without Paolini. He is known for his ability to remain unflappable while listening to diverse points of view.

"Im also stubborn at times, and in this case, stubbornness has worked," Paolini says, meaning he is unmoving in the instances Sun must decide an issue.

Such powerful competitors as BEA Systems, Borland Software, IBM and Oracle — which at various times are at odds with each other — sit down at a table and contribute code and other development resources to the Java Community Process.

Collaborative technology building is a phenomenon of the times, but most examples, like Apache, Linux and Perl, come from the open source movement.

The Java Community Process is the leading example from the world of commercial companies. Future commercial collaboration may be patterned on it. And Paolini chairs the two executive committees that supervise the unusual, but successful, process.