These two men were joined by William Joy and Scott McNealy, and on the 24th of February in 1982, they founded Sun Microsystems. All of these men are Stanford graduates (except for Joy who went to Berkley), and the name “Sun” is derived from Stanford University Network. This is well named as from the start, Sun systems included network capability. Employee 5, John Gage, went so far as to say “the network is the computer,” which became the Sun slogan. Funding for this adventure was provided by Eastman Kodak, AT&T, Olivetti, and Xerox.
I have a soft spot for Sun. I don’t care much for Java, but their hardware – especially their workstations and thin clients – were unique and cool, and it’s incredibly sad the company couldn’t keep their workstation business operational. SPARC actually managed to hold on for quite a while – more so than other non-x86 architectures – but Oracle was not at all interested in the workstation market, which was probably the right financial call.
I’m still looking for a Sun Ultra 45 that doesn’t cost my me firstborn.