Bill Joy interview



In 2003 Wired interviewed Bill Joy after his retirement from Sun. I remember reading this article when it came out; I probably picked it up from Slashdot. There’s the striking photo, and a few passages that have stuck in my mind in the years since.

“I try to work on things that won’t happen unless I do them.”

“Open source is fine, but it doesn’t take a worldwide community to create a great operating system. Look at Ken Thompson creating Unix, Stephen Wolfram writing Mathematica in a summer, James Gosling in his office making Java. Now, there’s nothing wrong with letting other people help, but open source doesn’t assist the initial creative act. What we need now are great things. I don’t need to see the source code. I just want a system that works.”

“My goal is to do great things. If I do something great, maybe it’ll beat Microsoft. But that’s not my goal.”

“Our problem is no longer “going faster,” getting to the future as fast as possible, but rather dealing with limits - limiting our own greed to avoid disaster in the environment and limiting what rogue individuals and states can do. Market mechanisms don’t address these problems. Things that aren’t accounted for in the cost equations - especially catastrophic events, the value of our survival - don’t get dealt with.”