The initial design for what became Sun’s first Unix workstation was conceived by Andy Bechtolsheim when he was a graduate student at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. He originally designed this “68000 Unix system” for the communications project Stanford University Network, building it from spare parts resourced from the Department of Computer Science and Silicon Valley supply houses. The first Sun workstations ran a Version 7 Unix System port by UniSoft on 68000 processor-based machines.
In February 1982 Bechtolsheim, fellow Stanford graduate students Vinod Khosla and Scott McNealy, plus Bill Joy (a primary developer of BSD), founded the company now known as Sun Microsystems.
The company name is derived from the initials for Stanford University Network, also reflected in the company’s stock symbol, SUNW, which now stands for Sun Worldwide.
Other Sun luminaries include early employees John Gilmore and James Gosling. Sun was an early advocate of Unix-based networked computing, promoting TCP/IP and especially NFS, as reflected in the company’s motto “The Network Is The Computer”. James Gosling led the team which developed the Java programming language. Most recently, Jon Bosak led the creation of the Extensible Markup Language specification at W3C.