Joy joins former Federal Communications Commission chairman Reed Hundt in joining Novell's eight-member board this month.
"It will be a pleasure to work with [Joy] again in an area that we both care deeply about: creating networking solutions for the enterprise," Schmidt said in a statement.
Joy agreed, saying: "Eric and his new team are clearly pursuing some of the most exciting opportunities in networking."
Joy now is leading a Sun research project, dubbed JINI, to expand Java technology. JINI focuses on technologies that simplify the access and delivery of network services.