William Joy

Updated: 09/15/2017 by Computer Hope
William (Bill) Nelson Joy

Name: William (Bill) Nelson Joy

Born: November 8, 1954, in Farmington Hills, Michigan

Computer-related contributions

  • American computer scientist.
  • Joy co-founded Sun Microsystems in 1982 along with Vinod Khosla, Scott McNealy and Andy Bechtolsheim and served as chief scientist at the company until 2003.
  • He played an important role in the early development of BSD UNIX while a grad student at Berkeley.
  • Joy is the original author of the vi text editor.

Significant publications

  • He is widely known for having written the essay "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us", where he expresses deep concerns over the development of modern technologies.

Honors and awards

  • Inducted as a Fellow of the Computer History Museum (2011).
  • Awarded a Grace Murray Hopper Award by the ACM for his work on the Berkeley UNIX Operating System (1986).


"The experiences of the atomic scientists clearly show the need to take personal responsibility, the danger that things will move too fast, and the way in which a process can take on a life of its own. We can, as they did, create insurmountable problems in almost no time flat. We must do more thinking up-front if we are not to be similarly surprised and shocked by the consequences of our inventions."