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Rob Gingell (pronounced "jingle") is Sun Microsystems' chief engineer, a position that gives him oversight of all of Sun's developments and directions. Born in the Washington, D.C. area, he pursued his studies at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, where he worked on projects for the US government's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), an early sponsor of the Unix operating system and the Internet. Upon graduation, he continued his work at the university for eight more years when, in 1985, Gingell moved to the West Coast to work for Sun on the company's next-generation operating system. In that capacity, he developed a new dynamic linking mechanism and contributed to defining the ELF (executable and linking format) object format, which has since become the standard binary file format on most Unix operating systems, as well as on Linux. Much of that work led to the definition of the Solaris ABI (application binary interface), which guarantees that a binary program runs on different versions of Solaris, as long as that program conforms to the Solaris ABI. (By contrast, an API guarantees a developer's access to a library's function and method definitions, as long as that library conforms to an API.)Rob Gingell
Jini community members know Gingell as a 2001 JiniJam participant, and, in his own words, as a Jini fan. I interviewed Gingell via email in June to discuss Jini's role in Sun's new software organization.
Read Gingell's complete interview in "Jini's Relevance Emerges:"
Frank Sommers: Sun recently announced an ambitious restructuring of its software organization, bringing its software offerings under one umbrella. What role will Jini play in that new organization?
Rob Gingell: Like other living, dynamic organizations, Sun periodically reorganizes itself. These organization structures often have shorter lifetimes than the products and technologies the company produces. In that respect, the new organizational structure doesn't directly impact Jini, Java, or Solaris.
On the other hand, the shift reflects Sun's evolution from a company that delivers value out of VLSI [very large scale integration] and operating system platform integration to one that builds systems out of the network, based on components that tend to carry IP addresses. That new focus is based on what we, and the industry in general, have accomplished over the last couple of decades and asks the question: If the network is, indeed, the computer, then what computer should we make out of the network?