Suns Papadopoulos Looks Ahead

Greg Papadopoulos speaks out for the first time since taking on the responsibilities of Sun co-founder and chief scientist Bill Joy.

In his first public interview since taking on the responsibilities of Sun co-founder and chief scientist Bill Joy, Sun Microsystems Inc.s chief technology officer, Greg Papadopoulos, sat down with eWEEK Senior Writer Darryl K. Taft to pay homage to Joy and to give a glimpse at his views on the future of the computing industry and for Sun under his watch. Papadopoulos spoke to eWEEK at the Object Management Groups (OMG) Integrate 2003 conference in Boston this week.

eWEEK: What would you say is Bill Joys legacy?

Papadopoulos: His legacy is broader than Sun. Its really to the whole community of the Internet. So all of Bills contributions have been ones that made the way into the substrate of what we do—whether its things around the network file server, or adding TCP/IP to Unix and sockets was a pretty big step, to the network file systems to his evangelism of Java, and kicking the chalk lines on new programming paradigms.

I just think that hes been a tremendous person who helped get the Internet where it is.

The fact is that over the past several years his attention has really focused on what he considers to be the next wave of technology, which is not so much IT-based. Its a lot of stuff around nanotech, bioengineering, and thats where his heads been.

eWEEK: How much of that will you carry over?

Papadopoulos: Well, we do have programs that are working in nanotech in the company, but his areas of concern were really more about what are the social implications of that. And there isnt a particular reason for Sun to carry that social agenda.

eWEEK: What will you miss most about Bill Joy?

Papadopoulos: I will just miss him as one of the many brilliant people at Sun. It truly is a candy store full of folks. Each one of those people brings their own unique perspective. Bill has one that is very much a renaissance perspective. You know, he is a voracious reader and well informed in lots of topics. So he brings that kind of perspective to things. Generally speaking, though, when I want more depth in any of those particular domains I turn to other people in the company. So what Ill miss from him is sort of that "out there" breadth that hes had.

From an operational point of view … hes not had an operational role in the company for years and years.

eWEEK: Right. And that is what I am trying to lead into. Sun has officially stated that youll take on his responsibilities, what does that mean actually?