Feeds

Sun finds safe hands in R&D reshuffle

Farewell, digital ectoplasm, as Sproull takes charge

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
HP busts out new ProLiant Gen9 servers
Think those are cool? Wait till you get a load of our racks
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
Like condoms, data now comes in big and HUGE sizes
Linux Foundation lights a fire under storage devs with new conference
Community chest: Storage firms need to pay open-source debts
Samba implementation? Time to get some devs on the job
Silicon Valley jolted by magnitude 6.1 quake – its biggest in 25 years
Did the earth move for you at VMworld – oh, OK. It just did. A lot
Forrester says it's time to give up on physical storage arrays
The physical/virtual storage tipping point may just have arrived
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?