Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the Silicon Valley venture capital firm that backed companies like Genentech, Netscape, Amazon.com and Google, said it has hired well-known Sun scientist John Gage as partner.

Gage, an early employee at Sun Microsystems, who more recently had become that company’s chief scientist, will provide “counsel to the firms’ global network of entrepreneurs, scientists, academics and government leaders,” the firm said in a statement.

Gage becomes the latest in a string of Sun alumni at the firm. John Doerr, the firm’s leading partner, years ago walked the halls at Stanford, found the Sun co-founders and invested in them, in what became the first success that was to earn Doerr a reputation for solid investments. Sun co-founders Vinod Khosla and Bill Joy later became partners at Kleiner Perkins, though Khosla has since moved on start his own firm, Khosla Ventures.

Joy claims Gage was the first person to show him a web browser.
Gage was responsible for Sun’s relationships with world scientific and technical organizations, for international public policy and governmental relations in the areas of scientific and technical policy, and for alliances with the world’s leading research institutions, Kleiner said in a statement.

Gage catalyzed the company’s popular Java One conference, and created NetDay, a volunteer project by high-tech companies to connect schools and libraries to the Internet.