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Bill Joy

  • American businessman
  • Born November 8, 1954

William Nelson Joy (born November 8, 1954) is an American computer engineer. He co-founded Sun Microsystems in 1982 along with Scott McNealy, Vinod Khosla, and Andy Bechtolsheim, and served as chief scientist at the company until 2003. He played an integral role in the early development of BSD UNIX while a graduate student at Berkeley, and he is the original author of the vi text editor. He also wrote the 2000 essay Why The Future Doesn't Need Us, in which he expressed deep concerns over the development of modern technologies.


I remember right after Carter got elected, I was sitting in my apartment in Albany, CA, on a Saturday listening to people call Carter and ask stupid questions while I designed the screen editor.




I think it killed the performance on a lot of the systems in the Labs for years because everyone had their own copy of it, but it wasn't being shared, and so they wasted huge amounts of memory back when memory was expensive.




Bitmap display is media compatible with dot matrix or laser printers.




So Chuck and I looked at that and we hacked on em for a while, and eventually we ripped the stuff out of em and put some of it into what was then called en, which was really ed with some em features.




I think the wonderful thing about vi is that it has such a good market share because we gave it away.




I had almost rewritten all of the display code for windows, and that was when I gave up.




But no, I don't generally have trouble with spelling mistakes.




I think multiple levels of undo would be wonderful, too.




I think the hard thing about all these tools is that it takes a fair amount of effort to become proficient.




I think the Macintosh proves that everyone can have a bitmapped display.




The fundamental problem with vi is that it doesn't have a mouse and therefore you've got all these commands.




Well, limbo is not a good place to be.




But with Interleaf I don't even have a spell program.




Systems are going to get a lot more sophisticated.




Interleaf is based on the formatting process.




I was surprised about vi going in, though, I didn't know it was in System V.




I started to write a new editor not too long ago and had it about half done after two days.




I just don't like to lose what's in the window.




I think one of the interesting things is that vi is really a mode-based editor.




That lack of programmability is probably what ultimately will doom vi. It can't extend its domain.




I wish we hadn't used all the keys on the keyboard.




I got tired of people complaining that it was too hard to use UNIX because the editor was too complicated.




Interleaf is very nice. I expect there to be a lot of competition for programs like that.




I think editors have to come out of a certain kind of community.




The point is that you want to have a system that is responsive.




Document preparation systems will also require large screen displays.




It is formatted, and I'm tired of using vi. I get really bored.



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