Sun, Gingell Part Company

The 20-year Sun veteran joins other former Sun colleagues at enterprise infrastructure software and services company Cassatt.

Rob Gingell, until recently Sun Microsystems Inc.s chief engineer and also a Sun fellow and vice president of the company, has severed his ties with Sun to join former colleagues at an up-and-coming technology company.

Gingell, a 20-year Sun veteran who has been one of the companys most respected software minds, will be going to Cassatt Corp., a San Jose, Calif., enterprise infrastructure software and services company focusing on helping enterprises scale out their commodity hardware systems by implementing clustering, grid-like features and virtualization to make a large number of servers work as a single, manageable system.

Gingell will join two former Sun colleagues at Cassatt: Bill Coleman, who founded and is CEO of Cassatt; and Rich Green, Suns former Java honcho and vice president of developer software, who left Sun last April to move over to Cassatt as executive vice president of product development.

Green was expected to succeed Jonathan Schwartz as overall head of software at Sun when Schwartz was promoted to president and chief operating officer. But Gingell gave up an even more prestigious role at Sun to go to Cassatt, where he is listed as executive vice president and chief technology officer on the companys Web site.

A source close to the situation said Gingell will be sorely missed at Sun, where he was often the sounding board for new projects and that a yay or nay from Gingell could weigh heavily into whether efforts got funding and support. The source said Gingell preferred to leave without fanfare.

A sun spokesperson said Gingells last day at Sun was Nov. 5.

That Gingell quietly left Sun is no surprise, given that he is perhaps the most visionary Sun executive to have left the company since co-founder Bill Joy left the Santa Clara, Calif., systems maker last year.

During his tenure at Sun, among his many roles, Gingell headed up the Java Community Process (JCP), which has helped shepherd Java into a mature platform used and supported by thousands of industries.

Cassatt would not provide immediate comment for this story. A blurb on the Sun Web site describing Gingell said: "At Sun, Rob created dynamic linking mechanisms now prevalent in UNIX implementations, worked on the ELF object file format, and led operating systems development in the areas of memory management and multithreading. These efforts led to efforts in the definition and deployment of Application Binary Interface (ABI) technologies that include the current technology underlying Suns Solaris application guarantee programs. Subsequent assignments have included a variety of roles in system software, most recently as Chief Technologist for Suns systems software portfolio, including Solaris, Java, Jini, developer tools, and the StarOffice products and related technologies."

A source close to the situation said Gingell informed them of his decision to leave Sun just a few weeks ago.

Next Page: What Gingells departure means to open-sourcing Java.