Leaving Sun

I’ve decided to leave Sun Microsystems, after spending 8+ years there (well, 10+ years if you count my two internships) working on graphics engines for the Java platform. Tomorrow, January 8th, 2010 will be my last day on the job. It has been a fun journey, and Sun was a great place to work. I suspect that not many college grads stay at their first job for very long, but I stayed with Sun for as long as I did because the work was constantly challenging, yet enjoyable. I love wrangling pixels, so I feel lucky that I got to do it for a living, and that I was able to contribute to platforms that were used by so many developers (and by millions of end users that probably don’t know what a “Java” is or why it’s useful).

The hardest part of this change is leaving my great colleagues at Sun, many of whom I worked with since my earliest days there as a quiet co-op student (intern) and later as a new hire. I’ve learned so much about software development, and a great number of other random/wacky topics as well, from this team. They are a unique bunch, replete with humor, brains, generosity, egos, caring, quirks, ingenuity, and great storytelling abilities. They’re like a family, and that’s why I’ll miss them.

So, what’s next for me? On Monday I will be starting at Plausible Labs, a worker-owned software cooperative here in San Francisco. Java developers may know its founder, Landon Fuller, from his work on SoyLatte and porting OpenJDK to Mac OS X. I’m really excited to be working with Landon and Terri. It should give me a chance to learn new technologies (iPhone and Android, among others) and to see what life is like outside a corporate monolith. I like the concept of the co-op (a relatively rare setup in the software world) and I’m hoping we can make it a viable way to run a business. I also like the idea of building local, community-focused software — creating things that I would use myself, rather than building for unknown “others.”

(I’m also very happy to be working closer to home; no more Caltrain! Well, really I’m just trading one long commute for a shorter one involving the equally unreliable Muni, but at least now biking to work is a reasonable option.)

As part of this transition, I’ve finally set up this new website and blog, where I can keep my professional and personal activities organized in one location. I’m not planning to post to my java.net blog any longer (since I expect to be blogging about non-Java related topics in addition to the usual Java stuff here), so if you’re accustomed to reading my (increasingly infrequent) entries there, be sure to update your bookmarks.

I’ll stay subscribed to a few of the usual Java and OpenJDK-related mailing lists, so I’m not planning to disappear completely. That’s the great part about OpenJDK: it’s possible for me to remain involved even though I’ll no longer be with Sun. (I wish I could say the same for JavaFX!)

Happy 2010! It should be a fun year…


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