Excerpt from The PC Pioneers
The first 3M computer – one megapixel display, one megabyte of memory and a speed of one million instructions per second – was developed by a graduate student at Stanford in May 1982. It was a personal CAD workstation called Sun-1, for Stanford University Network.
Andy Bechtolsheim, born in Germany, studied engineering at the University of Technology Munich. He won a Fulbright Award at nineteen and moved to the USA to gain his master’s at Carnegie Mellon and PhD at Stanford.
Frustrated by having to wait for computer access at Stanford, he designed the Sun-1 with a UNIX OS and built-in networking. Vinod Khosla at Stanford Business School suggested they use the product as a basis for a business. With Scott McNealy at Stanford and UCB student Bill Joy, they founded Sun Microsystems in February 1982; Khosla was the first chairman and CEO, McNealy would later become Sun CEO.
Bill Joy had created the 1BSD UNIX in 1977 and a year later improved this with 2BSD that included his ‘vi’ text editor and the C shell; both became standard in subsequent UNIX systems.
1982 Sun hit profit in its first quarter selling 68000-based SunOS workstations for financial organisations and telecom companies. It introduced NFS, network file sharing, licence-free which ignited PC networking from 1986 onwards.
1986 Sun’s IPO benefited from the dot.com wave as all those involved required workstations and servers.