Sun at 25: Where are the founders now?

Sun Microsystems is still around. But what about the four men who gave it life? InfoWorld went on the hunt for Sun's founding fathers: Andy Bechtolsheim, Vinod Khosla, Bill Joy, and Scott McNealy. Here's what we found.

Andy Bechtolsheim: An eye for innovation, and the bottom line

Working at Xerox Park in Palo Alto as a summer student, Andy Bechtolsheim saw something in Xerox's Alto network workstation that Xerox itself couldn't: the possibilities of what such a machine could do with a high resolution display, a mouse, and a GUI.

"The strange thing was [Xerox] never really productized it," Bechtolsheim says of the Alto, which inspired the creation of Apple's Lisa personal compute, as well as a machine that Bechtolsheim would build and dub the Stanford University Network -- or SUN -- workstation.

Besides the convenience of a graphical interface, just not having to wait in a time share system for a few cycles was a "beautiful thing," Bechtolsheim recalls of the Alto and the later SUN workstation, which he envisioned as a tool primarily for CAD/CAM users.

After Bechtolsheim's SUN workstation gave birth to Sun Microsystems, Bechtolsheim says he took a great deal of pride in the fact that his Sparc Workstation 1 and 2 drove half the revenue of the company for almost its first 10 years.