Microsoft Makes a Mea Culpa for Hiring Situation

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-09-09 Print this article Print

A recruiter for the Redmond giant sent an e-mail expressing interest in hiring open-source luminary Eric Raymond, who expressed in no uncertain terms that he is not interested in working for Microsoft.

Microsoft on Friday issued a mea culpa for not doing its due diligence before sending Linux and open-source luminary Eric Raymond an e-mail expressing interest in having him work for the Redmond software giant. But Microsoft Corp. spokesman Mark Martin told eWEEK on Friday that the company remains committed to employing talented people—regardless of their background. "Microsoft is always looking to hire talented people from across the industry—including those in the open-source community. While, in this case, we didnt do our full due diligence, we encourage and benefit from a diversity of perspectives at Microsoft," he said.
Raymond has a long history with the open-source community. He co-founded the OSI (Open Source Initiative), was a member of the board of directors of VA Linux Systems, and had his three essays on open-source development published in the book titled "The Cathedral and the Bazaar."
Raymond, who posted the entire e-mail from Microsoft recruiter Mike Walters on his blog, informed Walters in no uncertain terms that he was not in the least bit interested in working for them. Raymond also posted the entire text of his response to Walters on his Weblog which, as usual, pulled no punches. "What were you going to do with the rest of your afternoon, offer jobs to Richard Stallman [founder of the Free Software Foundation] and Linus Torvalds [the father of Linux]? Or were you going to stick to something easier, like talking Pope Benedict into presiding at a Satanist orgy?" He went on to say that "Youve maybe heard about this open source thing? … On the day I go to work for Microsoft, faint oinking sounds will be heard from far overhead, the moon will not merely turn blue but develop polkadots, and hell will freeze over so solid the brimstone will go superconductive." This is not the first time Microsoft has targeted someone with open-source credentials to work for it. The company employed Bill Hilf to set up and run its Linux and open source lab. Click here to read more about Microsoft vowing to commit to interoperability. It also then managed to snare Gentoo Linux founder Daniel Robbins, who told the Gentoo Foundation Inc. when he left that he would be "helping Microsoft to understand open-source and community-based projects." He now works with Hilf in his role as manager of Microsofts platforms strategy team. Microsoft spokesman Martin also told eWEEK that the fact that Microsoft had employed people like Hilf and Robbins "emphasize that there are plenty of opportunities to make a difference at Microsoft." Microsoft executives have also significantly toned down their anti-Linux rhetoric of late and have been making friendly overtures to some of the leading names in the Linux and open source communities. As first reported at, Microsoft recently invited Michael Tiemann, president of the Open Source Initiative and vice president of open-source affairs at Linux vendor Red Hat, to meet and start a constructive dialogue. Read more here about talks between Microsoft and the open-source community. Earlier this year, Brad Smith, Microsofts general counsel, extended an olive branch to the open-source community, asking for a sit-down meeting to see how his company can better work with them. But some of Microsofts outreach efforts have been controversial. As again first reported last month, Microsoft approached the Open Source Development Labs about conducting a jointly funded research study to compare and contrast Windows and Linux. Stuart Cohen, the CEO of OSDL turned Microsoft down flat. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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