Feeds

Sun finds safe hands in R&D reshuffle

Farewell, digital ectoplasm, as Sproull takes charge

Application security programs and practises

Exclusive Sun Microsystems' has turned to a renowned computer scientist to safeguard its crown jewels - its research division.

Bob Sproull, who founded and led Sun's Boston labs for a decade, has been appointed the new Director of Sun Labs. Sproull succeeds the PT Barnum-quoting Glenn Edens, who after a two-year spell in the post will head up a new unit developing technology for consumer electronics.

It's a case of Sun returning to its traditional values.

Edens made a good argument for putting Sun at the heart of the convergence strategies at the large telcomms companies, and that's a bet that looks even more prescient today, with market consolidation, fiber roll out, and operators such as Verizon offering 'triple play' services.

But the quality of the projects Edens spawned dismayed senior Sun staff who privately criticized them for frivolity and a lack of rigor, drawing comparisons with MIT's Media Lab. Edens' talk of "digital ectoplasm" didn't exactly help - and, to be honest, last year's Open Day at the Computer History Museum at times look a bit like Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. All of which detracted from the serious problem-solving research into performance, system resiliance, data integrity, and security on which Sun's future depends. And which we could all use a little bit more of, but which in the "Web 2.0" era, seems to be a low priority for the investment community.

Sproull was instrumental in setting up Sun Labs in 1990 - with Ivan and Bert Sutherland, he'd been a principal at Sutherland and Sproull Associates Inc. A former academic as well as systems designer, Sproull helped develop the Alto computer at Xerox PARC, and co-wrote a classic textbook on computer graphics.

Ivan Sutherland, perhaps the computer industry's most distinguished active research scientist, had been an increasingly rare sighting at Sun Labs during the Edens era. He's now expected to move his team, which is working on asynchronous ("clockless") processors, back to the Mountain View campus.

Sun representatives were unable to comment, or say when or if Sun would make an official statement on the moves.

We expect the news will appear on the Sun "blogs", eventually. Where we would we be without "blogs"? ®

Related link

Bob Sproull's page at Sun Labs

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
SHOCK and AWS: The fall of Amazon's deflationary cloud
Just as Jeff Bezos did to books and CDs, Amazon's rivals are now doing to it
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
The triumph of VVOL: Everyone's jumping into bed with VMware
'Bandwagon'? Yes, we're on it and so what, say big dogs
Carbon tax repeal won't see data centre operators cut prices
Rackspace says electricity isn't a major cost, Equinix promises 'no levy'
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.