Bill Joy. He's a founder and Vice President of Research and Development for Sun Microsystems, one of the most innovative and successful computer companies. He imagines the computer of 14 years from now, a machine he calls the "2001 computer." It will be a phenomenally fast machine (128,000 times the speed of current computers), with a memory capacity the equivalent of 300,000 books, all fitting into the size of a sugar cube. (Interview with Sedge Thomson)
Computer programmer Richard Stallman. Stallman's a genius, he's been called "the best programmer who's ever lived", and he received one the MacArthur Foundation's so-called "Genius Awards," but he's become more widely known for his push to make computer programs freely accessible to everyone. Instead of software companies charging hundreds or thousands of dollars for programs and forbidding the purchasers from giving copies to other people, Stallman wants an unrestricted exchange of programs, and thereby the creativity that they represent.
Computer activist Mitch Kapor. A new digital information highway is in the formative stages that will carry voice, data, and video services to everyone. We'll talk with Mitch Kapor, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which wants to make sure everyone has access to the new highway. Kapor also founded the Lotus software company.
Bill Gates is chief executive and co-founder of Microsoft, the world's largest software company. Microsoft has made Gates rich and famous, and has earned him a reputation as a computer visionary. Gates recently wrote the book The Road Ahead (Viking). Gates explores the new, growing technology and how it will effect people's lives, including the realms of education, politics, and business. Gates says that he does not "necessarily have all the answers, but the book is my way of getting us all to start thinking about the opportunities and challenges ahead."
The creator of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee. He created the web in 1989, as a way to organize his own projects. The Web has grown rapidly since then. In 1992 there were 100 sites on it, as of last May there were 22,000. Berners-Lee is dedicated to keeping the Web open as a public good. He now works at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he heads the World Wide Web Consortium, a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing standards, protocols and new software for the Web.
Intel is the world's largest manufacturer of microprocessing chips, and the seventh most profitable company among the Fortune 500. Grove was born in Hungary and emigrated to the United States in 1956. He spoke very little English when he arrived. In 1963, he received his Ph.D from the University of California, at Berkeley. Grove participated in the founding of Intel and became its president in 1979 and chief executive in 1987. His newest book "Only the Paranoid Survive" reveals some of the philosophy and strategy behind his success.
Yang is co-founder of YAHOO, a directory to the World Wide Web. YAHOO has an online site, as well as a companion book. YAHOO is one of the most popular sites on the Web. Users can access YAHOO, once in the Web at http://www.yahoo.com. Yahoo's book is YAHOO! Unplugged.
He is the creator of Linux, a computer operating system intended to improve upon UNIX. When Torvalds wrote the original code in 1991, he sent it out on the internet to allow anyone to make changes and improvements. So Linux was developed by a committee of thousands. In the past few years, investors backed Linux, thinking it an alternative operating system to Microsofts. However, with the recent crash in tech stocks, Linux suffered. Torvalds has just written a new memoir, called Just for Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary.
Jimmy Wales helped create Wikipedia, the interactive online encyclopedia founded in 2001. Users write and edit Wikipedia entries themselves; the site also has a dedicated corps of editors. There are often "edit wars" over entries — some, including the one headlined "2006 Lebanon War," have been edited and then re-edited thousands of times — and Wikipedia's accuracy has been questioned by some professors and colleges, who forbid students to cite it as a source. But Wikipedia, with versions in 250 languages, is one of the top 10 sites on the Internet.