"Fortune Magazine calls Joy, Sun Microsystems' chief
scientist, "The Edison of the Internet." Joy is a cofounder of Sun
and a member of the Executive Committee. His work on BSD Unix and
Berkeley networking qualifies his as one of the founding fathers of
both Unix and the Internet; work springing from his research group
at Sun led to Java, Jini, and various networking technologies yet
to be announced."
"Tim O'Reilly: You've been talking about
peer-to-peer for a long time, and I know you're still in stealth
mode on some new projects you're working on, but I'm wondering
whether you have anything that you're ready to unveil?
Bill Joy: ... In 1992, I gave a talk at Esther
Dyson's conference that looked forward 10 years... about having a
quarter billion connected mobile professionals each carrying
several devices with them. ... Having that many devices creates a
nightmare because they all have to be managed and found and
addressed and named and so on. We just couldn't imagine that the
devices would be as complicated as conventional systems. We also
felt that they had to be more reliable, so we took some early steps
with Java to make things simpler and more modular. I think we've
had good success with that. We also brought out the Jini technology
with the idea that devices need to find each other dynamically. Now
we believe that the kinds of things people are calling peer-to-peer
are part of a set of technologies to deal with these same problems.
"O'Reilly: I think peer-to-peer is part of a
much bigger movement in the world of networking, one that really
caught on with all the buzz around Napster. Napster woke everybody
up to the idea that the issue wasn't just a matter of centralized
vs. distributed computing, but it was somewhere in between. What do
you think of Napster?
Joy: I'm a shareholder, but as I wrote in Time
magazine, I don't understand how Napster isn't infringing on the
rights of the artists when their music is taken without
compensation. ... I think the Napster people recognize that. I'm
going to be working with Senator (Orrin) Hatch (R-Utah) on the
Senate Judiciary Committee to try and look at some of these issues
and come up with better public policy so that we can encourage
innovation but also find a happy medium here. It's not going to be
easy, but not to try is not acceptable."