In March 1978, Bill Joy, who studied at the University of California at Berkeley, released the first free version of UNIX operating system which is now known as BSD UNIX. (Berkeley Software Distribution)
The history of UNIX starts back in 1969, when Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie and others started working on a Digital Equipment PDP-7 computer at Bell Labs. The first edition was launched in 1971 and was mainly used for text processing. It had a kernel, an assembler for the DEC PDP-11/20, a file system and some vital tools, including the 'ed' (editor for mortals) text editor written by Bill Joy.
Two years later, the Fourth Edition was totally rewritten in C language with multi-platform support in mind, allowing it to be used on a wide range of computers. In 1975, the Sixth Version, widely known as 'Version 6' was the first UNIX version really available outside the Bell Labs. The first BSD version was derived from this V6.
The second BSD version was launched a few months later with the full kernel source codes. This version became the backbone of the Internet and introduced the "open source" concept.
From this time, the various flavours of UNIX were divided in two different families, the BSD based types and those derived from the SYSTEM V.
The Berkeley version of UNIX became the standard in education and research and was notable for introducing using TCP/IP to UNIX (later Bill Joy will be nicknamed the "Edison of the Internet"). BSD was widely distributed in source form so that others could learn from it and improve it.
After having been involved in the BSD project, Bill Joy co-founded Sun Microsystems in 1982 and led technical strategy of the company. He designed Sun's Network File System (NFS), parts of the SPARC microprocessor architecture as well as basic pipeline used in all of Sun's SPARC microprocessors.
Later, he was the co-author of the specification for the Java programming language.
In 1998, Bill was appointed as Chief Scientist of the company.