Microsoft tries to recruit me

The following is, verbatim, a letter I received a few minutes ago
from a Microsoft recruiter.


From: "Mike Walters (Search Wizards)" <v-mikewa@microsoft.com>
To: <esr@thyrsus.com>

Eric,

I am a member of the Microsoft Central Sourcing Team. Microsoft is
seeking world class engineers to help create products that help people
and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential.

Your name and contact info was brought to my attention as someone who
could potentially be a contributor at Microsoft. I would love an
opportunity to speak with you in detail about your interest in a career
at Microsoft, along with your experience, background and qualifications.
I would be happy to answer any questions that you may have and can
also provide you with any information I have available in regard to the
position s and work life at Microsoft.

Please take a moment to visit My Calendar
<http://www.appointmentquest.com/provider/2010224927> online to
schedule a convenient time for me to contact you. You can learn more
about our vision for the New World of Work at
<http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/execmail>

http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/execmail.

Additionally, if you are aware of any current or previous colleagues
who might also be interested in opportunities at Microsoft, I would be
happy to speak with them as well. Referrals are always welcome, and
are greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance and I look forward to an opportunity to speak to
you in the near future

Best regards,

Mike

<http://members.microsoft.com/careers/default.mspx>

How far will you go?

Mike Walters
CST Senior Recruiter

Microsoft
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052
<http://maps.yahoo.com/py/maps.py?Pyt=Tmap&addr=One+Microsoft+Way&csz=Re
dmond%2C+WA+98052&country=us>


I called Mike Walters, who told me my name had been passed to him
by his research team. I indicated to him that I thought somebody
was probably having a little joke at his expense, and promised him an
email reply. Here is my reply in its entirety:


To: "Mike Walters (Search Wizards)" <v-mikewa@microsoft.com>
From: <esr@thyrsus.com>

I'd thank you for your offer of employment at Microsoft, except
that it indicates that either you or your research team (or both)
couldn't get a clue if it were pounded into you with baseball bats.
What were you going to do with the rest of your afternoon, offer jobs
to Richard Stallman and Linus Torvalds? Or were you going to stick to
something easier, like talking Pope Benedict into presiding at a
Satanist orgy?

If you had bothered to do five seconds of background checking, you
might have discovered that I am the guy who responded to Craig
Mundie's "Who are you?" with "I'm your worst nightmare", and that I've
in fact been something pretty close to your company's worst nightmare
since about 1997. You've maybe heard about this "open source" thing?
You get one guess who wrote most of the theory and propaganda for it
and talked IBM and Wall Street and the Fortune 500 into buying in.
But don't think I'm trying to destroy your company. Oh, no; I'd be
just as determined to do in any other proprietary-software monopoly,
and the community I helped found is well on its way to accomplishing
that goal.

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.

But I must thank you for dropping a good joke on my afternoon. On
that hopefully not too far distant day that I piss on Microsoft's
grave, I sincerely hope none of it will splash on you.

Cordially yours,
Eric S. Raymond


My wife, upon hearing of this, suggested that if something like
this could happen maybe I haven’t made enough trouble for
Microsoft lately, and I’m slipping off their radar. She might have a
point…

UPDATE: For those of you who missed the subtlety (which was a surprising lot of you) I was quite polite to this guy on the phone.

FURTHER UPDATE: I had my serious, constructive converstation with Microsoft last year, when a midlevel exec named Steven Walli took me out to dinner at OSCON 2004 and asked, in so many words, “How can we not be evil?” And I told him — open up your file formats (including Word and multimedia), support open technical standards instead of sabotaging them, license your patents under royalty-free, paperwork-free terms.

I believe Steve Walli went back to his bosses and told them that truth. He is no longer with Microsoft, and what little he’ll say about it hints that they canned him for trying to change their culture.

This didn’t surprise me. Microsoft’s profit margins require a monopoly lock on the market; thus, they’re stuck with being predatory evil bastards. The moment they stop being predatory evil bastards, their stock price will tank and their options pyramid will crash and it will be all over.

That being the case, negotiation is pointless. Microsoft is not reformable. Jeering at offers like this is actually the most constructive thing we can do.

422 thoughts on “Microsoft tries to recruit me

  1. Linus joins Microsoft? Now that would be a great April Fools on the LKML.

  2. There is no acronym, or emoticon, sufficient to capture the amplitude and painful explosiveness of my laughter.

    You are clearly losing your touch in your frail dotage, dear Eric ;-)

  3. Well, they did manage to get a Gentoo architect.

    BTW, I think abrogating to yourself the status of MS’s worst nightmare might be seen as presumptious, considering that FLOSS depends on a big community, and a lot of what FLOSS is about precedes your 97 work, but far be it from me to try to teach ESR strategy.

  4. When do you start? Will you send us all some FREEWARE when you are in post? :)

  5. What David says is true, but Eric has done some very important things in the way of getting the open-source community organized and on-task, and making OSS viable for corporate users — which is what makes it a nightmare for Microsoft at all.

  6. Dear Eric, Microsoft is obviously managed by schizophrenics. I can’t explain it in any other way. And by the way, your reply rocks!

  7. I’ve had basically that same email from a different person at Microsquish, and I get it again about once a year. Makes me giggle every time.

  8. This smacks of a fraternity-style hazing stunt done to new employees who do not yet know better.

  9. It was a great deal damn answer, Master Eric. But…I am sticking around, “shinning over my darkside” and willing to get one possible answer: I got myself always curious about in how much they would be talking about in “such-a-case-ion”. ;-P

  10. I wouldn’t be so sure that this is an instance of brain-dead lack of due diligence. It could have been a fully-concious trial balloon. Gutting the opposition by hiring away top talent is a time-honored M$ tactic — who remembers Borland? We’re dealing with people here who think money can open any door.

  11. Probably they did a background check. They figured out you support second amendment and Bush. They thought you are one of their breed and they might have sent you this email. Jokes apart, I seriously think that comparing yourself with Linus and RMS is a bit too much. Your work on open source is highly respected but this looks more like a self propaganda. Though I respect you for your contributions to open source, I think this is a bit too much of bragging.

  12. You know, years ago I worked for a consulting firm that one of the “good guys” in the company was “hired away” to Oracle for a few years, and then “hired back” to spill the beans to the first company. Someone could become a double agent for FOSS, what better way than to go back to the good ol’ days of the cold war ;-) rather than terrorists bombings.

  13. LOL! And I thought Mirosoft was totally worthless. Seems they’re good for a good laugh at least. But sorry Eric, Hell has already froze over. The Eagles reunited in 1994. I endured the “Big Blue Room” Long enough to see them in concert here in Dallas.

    KH

  14. Leave it to Eric to act like a 12-year old on behalf of the open source community.

  15. Yes, I think if I were Microsoft I’d probably try to recruit you. Safest place for you as far as MS are concerned would be where they could see you all the time.
    You have to admire their nerve (there isn’t anything else to admire).

  16. Salesmen and recruiters have one basic rule: it never hurts to ask. You’d be surprised how many people say yes to questions you’d never think, simply because it was asked.

  17. Eric, I am admirer of your efforts, but I have to say that I’m just a little disappointed your response wasn’t more polite. Professionalism and some positive humor would have been perfect for this, but the jabs you made were, I’m sorry to say, a little rude. As a Linux user and Open Source advocate, I was a little embarrassed. Sorry.

    *TheDarb

  18. This is a simple mistake. The recruiter’s email address starts with a “v-”, which stands for “vendor”, i.e., they are not microsoft employees. I know this because I work there. The recruiter obviously didn’t do any research and has sent a standard (templated) email to the applicant. There is no where in the email any indication of “offer of employment” as ESR claims in his reply. Recruiter has tactfully said that he wants to do a preliminary telephone screen. Thats about it.

    If I remember right, sometime ago I read that the CEO of BitKeeper said that open source is not a viable business model and stopped providing BitKeeper to Linux, which forced Linus to write his own source control (forgot the name). The open source community conveniently sidestepped the news item without giving any reply. I wouldn’t be so sure about hell freezing over.

  19. Perhaps there was an opportunity missed here.
    The email from Microsoft said:
    “I would be happy to answer any questions that you may have”
    Perhaps some questions like
    When will Microsoft Office .DOC file format be published?
    When will Internet Explorer be available to run on Linux?

  20. “We’re dealing with people here who think money can open any door”

    Heh….well, of course we all know that it actually can…..when applied properly.

    Properly, in this case, would be using it to hire some rather serious looking large men in dark suits and glasses to gently ‘persuade’ ballmar, gates et al to release the source code for every microsoft product under the GPL, turn microsoft.com into a sourceforge-style code hosting site, and for good measure to rename the company’s flagship product to ‘Lindows’ (well, we know they have the right to use that name…right? :P )

    Anyone wanna kick in for a whip-round? :)

  21. Now … Now … don’t you think it might have been more fun to march into Redmond (with a small media entourage) for an interview with said gentleman and ask some rather poignant questions?
    Be enough to make Ballmer sprout some grey hairs …

  22. BTW have you ever considered the possibilities that you would have if you enter the big house?

  23. “If I remember right, sometime ago I read that the CEO of BitKeeper said that open source is not a viable business model and stopped providing BitKeeper to Linux, which forced Linus to write his own source control (forgot the name). The open source community conveniently sidestepped the news item without giving any reply.”

    This is idiotic. That whole imbroglio was an issue for the OSS community for several weeks.

    Linus was out of line with his remarks about Tridge, but he redeemed himself by shutting up and writing code.

    Not to mention that the BitKeeper dude was an idiot in the first place.

    Given the number of so-called “OSS” people who have supposedly been hired at Microsoft to “work with” Microsoft on formulating their “OSS strategy”, I’d say this might have been a deliberate attempt to compromise Eric by getting him involved in a communication.

    In which case, his slamming response was entirely appropriate.

    NOTHING anybody connected with Microsoft says (at least those who have authority to speak to the public in any way) can be taken as anything but a deliberate lie.

  24. Heh… M$ made mistake – they thought you’re good programmer. But after your reply they (and rest of us) see: you’re shitty people as well as shitty programmer. Be happy with your stupid proud.

  25. Just to make an obvservation, the “v-” prefix to the email address means it’s a vendor. Quite obviously a stupid vendor. It’s not a permanent Microsoft staff member. By the looks of it, the company is ‘Search Wizards’.

  26. nice try :-), maybe they need fill “black hole” after bill gates and steve ballmer quit M$, sold its stocks and move to debian developer team :-))

  27. Well, I must admit a smile or two rushing through my face, but especially the last sentence makes the reply a very embarrassing thing. That’s what you get from a 16-year-old when you offer him to go to the zoo if he quits his drinking. Parenting at its best.
    Of course the ‘job offer’ is kind of inappropriate. But the whole pissing-thing is really nothing one should ever mention unless you want to be talked to that way. First, as somebody already mentioned, it’s only a vendor who made a stupid mistake. Second, the mail makes the open source community look like a bunch of stubborn idealists who never learned good manners.

    If I was asked which one of you I’d have a good business dinner with, I’d go by Mike.

    regards from germany

    Andreas

  28. Well, a little too crude and inpolite for my taste. An Englishman would have chosen a little more ironic wording in order to say the same thing. Still, I’d rather see a crude “NO” than some other less ‘open source’ gods who have sold their soul to the devil and now try to explain to the community with a well filled wallet that MS is ‘not the evil empire’, because ‘we have to work together’ since ‘we can peacely coexist’. War is war, no prisoners. Changing sides is treason.

    Hans Bezemer

  29. You just made my day, especially the part where hell will freeze over so solid the brimstone will go superconductive, nice one.

  30. You know if you really were their worst nightmare you would have accepted their offer and then taken them down from the inside.

    Either way pretty damn funny :)

  31. You should have taken the offer, talked to the guy, and then come back and tell us whether you got the job. *That* would be a great article! :-) Anyway, thanks for a good laugh, I needed it today.

  32. If you are a major personal in the OSS community (as you say you are), you understand that you represent us in your reply to Microsoft, a reply like that was rather childish and immature and pours negetive light on the entire OSS movement.

    A simple ‘no thanks’ would have been nicer, even if it’s Microsoft or even the devil, keep it sharp, short and clean.

    Billy

  33. Referring to comment #6 by NSK, please don’t insult schizophrenics by comparing them with Microsofties !

  34. Strange that your name came up for potential hire; however your reply was quite immature. It’s one thing to have a differing opinion it’s another to act like a child. In many ways, replies like yours hurt the OSS community rather than help.

  35. Nice of you to have called him up front. That response e-mail was absolutely priceless. The up front contact allowed you to show him that you’re really are not such an a$$-h01e as the truly out of touch might assume from your response.

  36. “””they thought you’re good programmer. But after your reply they (and rest of us) see: you’re shitty people as well as shitty programmer. Be happy with your stupid proud.”””

    If Windows hired good programmers, and managed them with good managers, then perhaps they might have a product which *legitimately* earned them the monopoly they have. As it is, their software is riddled with flaws, and rely on those flaws routinely to generate additional revenue. You think Microsoft is concerned one iota about security? Why should they be, when every new Windows release is attacked by a flood of new virii, which of course means more upgrade revenue for the next version, etc.

    Even if IBM still dawdled routinely with Windows, I’d *MUCH* rather work for IBM than for Microsoft. Their ethical standards are much better — I’d argue some of the best in any industry I’ve seen to date.

  37. Oh man! What a trip! Thanks so much for the laugh.

    I can almost, (but not quite), find it in my heart to pity Microsoft if you really do take your wife’s comment to heart and try to get back on thier RADAR. The thought alone is enough to warm my heart.

    Regards,

    The Flatlander

  38. Dear Mr. Raymond.

    I think you missed a big, very big oportinity here.
    No. I do not talk about getting a job at MS.
    I am talking about oportunity to write a great, witty and sharp letter we (the FOSS community) would talk fondly about for ages.

    You could have even lured a few more emails from this headhunter.

    Stanislav from Slovakia

  39. Hahaha… I am a Microsoft programmer, but I must admit that this was funny.

  40. Yeah, great way to help the credibility of the open source community by acting like a child. I really don’t care about M$, and their email to you is quite funny — but it amazes me that an adult is proud of the fact that he reacted this way. Grow up or you’ll doom us all.

  41. Hey Erik, can you send me some freegifts (maybe a “micrasoft” mousepad) when you are in post ? this is so funny. that they can try someting like that by a person like you. maybe they just want some “free software”-inspiration ?

  42. Wow… I wonder why regular folks don’t view the open source community as credible. Go figure, whey you’re actually proud of this childish response, huh? I don’t give a flip about M$, and the little email story is quite funny, but good grief people please grow up before you doom the whole concept of open source.

  43. LOL!! Now *that’s* funny!!! Gotta love those numbnuts from Microsoft. Maybe next they could hire John Wayne Gacy as a male nurse.

  44. To: Microsoft
    From: Eric S. Raymond

    No, I will not work for you. I am the terror that flaps through the night. I am the lady at the supermarket that won’t stop talking while you’re waiting in line. I. AM. DARKWING DUCK!!!

  45. Take the offer! Demand 2 million dollars as CEO of a OSS R&D laboratory with the requirement that MS fund it at 30mil per year and Bill Gates (and any of his executive sycophants) is not your boss. Have the agreement signed in Bill’s blood (and his lawyers) just to be sure.

  46. Hiring competitors has always been Microsoft’s recruiting strategy for high-powered executive management and leadership positions. This is what happened to Hejlsberg (MSFT’s head of their .NET stuff who previously architected Delphi for Borland, Paul Gross (MSFT’s Senior VP of collaboration & mobility responsible for Exchange and Sharepoint — also former svp or borland), Karl Aigner (Suse’s salesguy who won the Munich account), Daniel Robbins former linux distro architect. The list goes on and on.

  47. Hmm…. this brings up an interesting strategy — if you want to be hired by Microsoft the best way to do it is to be very visible supporting their competitors’ solutions. Better job prospects – one more reason to be pro-linux these days.

  48. The best strategy would have been to agree to meet with their recruiters, be wine-and-dined, get the star treatment, then negotiate a salary.

    Then just give them the finger and say “Thanks for all the food.”

    …then post a picture to ibiblio.

  49. I hate to burst your bubble… but that’s a form letter. I don’t think they’re targeting you, but rather their crawler flagged you as a potential candidate. I get spammed with the exact same letter (albeit with my name, not yours) 2-3x daily.

  50. It would have been funny if you would have said yes! We could have seen you destroy Microhell from the inside!

  51. Gee, Eric, you could do worse than to get a haircut and get a real job. However, based on your small-minded, childish and unprofessional response to a polite enquiry about your availability for a chat about career options, I guess that might be a bit of a stretch. Good luck with that open source thing, but just remember it’s a bit hard to eat fresh air.

  52. This was very smart on Eric’s part. I like to imagine what a renowned Linux/F/OSS person would do when faced with this. Publicly flogging the HR rep on the record is a good idea. The FOSS figure now must stick buy his decision even if the evil empire does something…evil, like offer 100M$ to research a disease he or a family member suffers from, on condition that he hire on. I don’t know, that’s kind of extreme, but the point is, 50G$ is more cash than any other firm that size can imagine. One needs to always remember that when considering Microsoft’s actions.

  53. “faint oinking sounds will be heard from far overhead” I have to remember that one. I was nearly falling off my chair I was laughing so hard!

  54. I enjoyed the response. It was a lot more polite than I would be. The day hell freezes over, it is the AC overcooling at M$. Thanks

  55. That one made my (fri)day. Stupid questions deserve a stupid answer.
    Well done!

  56. Maybe an invitation to read “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” would have been sufficient.

    It’s funny but is it good politics?

  57. I’ve had google email me as a potential recruitment, but you don’t see me being a tool about it, or spamming loads of people who don’t care! ;)

  58. You really should have talked this over with your dear wife beforehand..

    “Sometime you have to take a BATH, Max!”

  59. Eric, I’m sorry, but you’re just dumb. While I don’t blame you for saying no, your reply was rude, idiotic, and lacking in class. Get off your high horse. You’re not on the level of Torvalds and Stallman either, so don’t kid yourself. Your writings are garbage. You wrote a few patches here and there, a shitty mail daemon, and then chose to write about it for years to come, expecting some kind of fame. Why don’t you go back to hallucating that you assume the power of gods, casting spells and attending NRA meetings? Your Aunt Tillie is waiting.

  60. Kinda like Old Man Potter offering George Bailey a job in order to squelch the competition.

  61. What a childish response. Someone with an iota of wit and taste could have easily said no yet subtley include all the barbed comments he wanted; without coming off sounding like an ego-maniac. You’ve done a real disservice to the legitimacy of the OSS movement. Good job!

  62. Your reply was not only unprofessional, but childish and embarrassing. Openly publishing this despicable reply with seeming pride while comparing yourself to the greatness of Linus and Stallman is abominable. In my eyes, whatever respect you once had is completely lost.

  63. Eric, I’m sorry, but you’re just dumb. While I don’t blame you for saying no, your reply was rude, idiotic, and lacking in class. Get off your high horse. You’re not on the level of Torvalds and Stallman either, so don’t kid yourself. Your writings are garbage. You wrote a few patches here and there, a shitty mail daemon, and then chose to write about it for years to come, expecting some kind of fame. Why don’t you go back to hallucating that you assume the power of gods, casting spells and attending NRA meetings? Your Aunt Tillie is waiting.

  64. Haha! Eric, your reply made my day :) Too bad they have managed to hire some important open source people, like Daniel Robbins (the guy who started Gentoo).

  65. Maybe Micro$oft just doesn’t take no for an answer (wouldn’t be the first time) – the words *I am your worst nightmare* after all might just be your way of playing hard to get ;-) LOL
    Mate – love your reply – you’re definitely working yourself up to a theme here. I also agree with your wife: you haven’t caused enough trouble lately, don’t ease up on the empire now!!

    Seriously, this just shows how clueless those HR dept. are – I should know, as a consultant (java/lamp only :-) I regularly have to pay recruiters to get me the gigs I didn’t hear back from when I applies there myself.

  66. The first sentence of the reply begins “I’d thank you for your offer of employment at Microsoft …” However, reading the initial email it is one sees that no job offer was extended. I have a feeling that the reply ought to have remained in the “draft box.” At the very least not published to the whole world.

  67. Sad. Very sad. I can remember the times when Eric was my personal hero. I read all his writings about Open Source and Hackers’ community. But everything must end in one way or another. This was the last drop in already full cup. His reply to Microsoft was not just rude and offensive, and not proffesional, but he missed very good opportunity to show how good Open Source programmers are. He missed oppotunity to use Microsoft’s money in MS vs OSS war, to build something better for all of us, the end users. And finally end this stupid flames and wars. It’s so immature and stupid.

    Or maybe it is not up to you, Eric?

    P.S. So true so true

  68. “Additionally, if you are aware of any current or previous colleagues who might also be interested in opportunities at Microsoft, I would be happy to speak with them as well. Referrals are always welcome, and are greatly appreciated.”

    ESR you should given out the name of Linus. What a great gag. This bad boy should be passed around the block to all FOSS developers

  69. The first sentence of the reply begins “I’d thank you for your offer of employment at Microsoft …” However, reading the initial email it is one sees that no job offer was extended. I have a feeling that the reply ought to have remained in the “draft box.” At the very least not published to the whole world.

  70. Haha! Eric, your reply made my day :) Too bad they have managed to hire some important open source people, like Daniel Robbins (the guy who started Gentoo).

  71. You get one guess who wrote most of the theory and propaganda for it and talked IBM and Wall Street and the Fortune 500 into buying in.

    I’d be just as determined to do in any other proprietary-software monopoly, and the community I helped found…

    In your head you really think you have an impact on, as you call it, our tribe, don’t you? Gosh, it’s our fetchmail-and-CML2 minor deity! Behold! Tremble!

    Jesus, get a grip, man. You’ve ruined our jargon with your stupid additions such as “aunt tillie” and “idiotarian”, which no one but you and your warblogger/circlejerking friends and you use. OSI? Hah.

    Walk the talk.

  72. Hmmm… notice that the recruiter uses yahoo maps to point to the Microsoft campus instead of MSN maps.

  73. I think that in all likelihood, this was NOT a real job offer but was merely an attempt a RESEARCHING the opponent. Notice that the M$ person suggests that he still must check out Eric’s experience and qualifications — thus this is not an offer. It’s an invitation for Eric to give M$ private information about himself.

  74. Hmmm… notice that the recruiter uses yahoo maps to point to the Microsoft campus instead of MSN maps.

  75. “Additionally, if you are aware of any current or previous colleagues who might also be interested in opportunities at Microsoft, I would be happy to speak with them as well. Referrals are always welcome, and are greatly appreciated.”

    ESR you should given out the name of Linus. What a great gag. This bad boy should be passed around the block to all FOSS developers

  76. Anyone notice that appoinmentquest is running Apache!

    Apache/1.3.26 Server at http://www.appointmentquest.com Port 80
    —————————————–
    Please take a moment to visit My Calendar
    online to
    schedule a convenient time for me to contact you.

    Anyone notice that appoinmentquest is running Apache!

  77. I suppose that is one way to deal with it… A better way would have been to done the phone interview and faked it in a funny way, recording it for the world to hear.

    Then if you got an actual interview, you could have shown up armed… and drunk. Now that would be absolute hilarity. :D

  78. “On that hopefully not too far distant day that I piss on Microsoft’s grave, I sincerely hope none of it will splash on you.”
    My, aren’t you the polite one? Sad…

  79. Nice, this is very nice. Eric – I applaud you for seizing the moment and acting accordingly. I’m sure you are not the only person that has done this to M$, however, it is very nice to read about it while working on a FRIDAY! TGIF!

    The only thing I can say is – Would the rest of you act the same?

    All bragging aside… I think we all should compare ourselves with Linus and RMS. That is the only way to become a true jedi!

    Krish, Would you have acted the same or would you roll over, play dead – then kiss Bill’s feet thanking him for the opportunity?

  80. Eric –

    While I thought this certainly an occasion for a few jokes, I can’t begin to respect your response. Ordinarily I find your writing to be thoughtful, constructive and enlightening. On this occasion I can’t help but be embarrased for you. Your invective was ill placed, unwarranted and shameful. How dare you…

    – Patrick

  81. I especially like this: “hell will freeze over so solid the brimstone will go superconductive.” Can I use that in conversation?

  82. I’m glad you know who you are and you’re able to tell other people because the majority of the people out here don’t know you or could care less. I mean, look at the posts on slashdot with “Who?” or the people who state “He doesn’t do anything!”. Great movement you started! The people in the movement have no idea you are their great Imperious Leader.

  83. Takes all kinds, but do you think you are helping open source with this kind of behavior? Remember that competition causes advances to take place and the market makes its choice. Where would we be if there never was a ms? It’s why you get up in the moring I’m guessing. Let’s not be childish but energetic in persuit of something better.

  84. Without parroting every other post, I’m dissapointed. Your time is precious I’m sure, but, I would have hoped you would take this opportunity to get some more insight and find out what they offer you. Even If you found it unnacceptable, you could report the results. What if they want to set up a new open source steering group at MS. You’re content to leave that job in the Gentoo guys hands alone surrounded by MS borg engineers. If you are the visionary you claim (I make no judgement either way, I appreciate the work you do.) you need to know where/how your enemy is strategizing. From the outside you can react, from the inside you can be proactive. (Think along the lines of AOL and Nullsoft. You see it now?)

    Once again I am saddened. Maybe RMS and Linus will think out their responses a little more carefully. I really have a hard time understanding why you chose a typical slashdiot antiMS diatribe.

    We do/will coexist with these guys. 2 PCs in my office 1 Windows, 1 Linux. (about 125 embedded linux devices in varying stages of programming) The more we can convince them of the advantages of working with us, the less they will work against us. You have a position of some authority in the FOSS community, which should be used it wisely/judiciously. I would have fired you if you sent that response through my server. Very Unproffessional.

    Having said that, I also understand that you hold firmly to your convictions. As an individual, you have every right to express yourself like an ass, and you have yet again exercised that right. (In my opinion to the detriment of us all.)

    Then again, Maybe its all much simpler. Maybe just Maybe you were afraid you wouldn’t be able to say no (alleged convictions be damned) to the dump truck full of scratch they were gonna offer you, Surely you won’t have to make that tough choice now. But you also have ruined any chance of steering change from the inside.

    Then there is the peer pressure issue. Maybe you saw the reaction/backlash to Daniel Robbins accepting a position at MS. But careful reading of that backlash will lead you right through all the points of this post.

    Maybe its simpler than all that and you are a juvenile sophmoric technophile. Having read almost all of your writings and speeches and books, I hadn’t come to that conclusion. Could you just clear it up for me, I can’t quite decide.

  85. This is perhaps THE funniest thing i heard in months… i mean i kept laughing and rolling on the floor until i turned blue… just goes to show you what these monkeys are doing behind the curtains in redmond… Eric, your reply not only rocks, it brought me to a climax… if you hear any other such good jokes please keep us posted

  86. Strange that most of the criticism to your response seem to come from Europe. Here comes another one.

    You may be cool and sharp, but you need some politeness. And a bit of taste. It is so easy making gross
    jokes/comparisons with the Pope.

    Also, take into account that they made you waste some time… Why not simply > /dev/null ‘ing their mail? Looks
    like your time is not that valuable, in the end.

    Good luck.

  87. I took the time to read all the comments, and it gets my attention the fact that all the negative comments to Eric were from anonymous users. Coincidence? Paranoid? hehehe.

    Anyway, the reply to the letter just made my day, now I am showing a big smile, it was some good laugh for me and the folks here at office :)

  88. This isn’t a job offer, it’s a form letter looking for a pre-screening phone call that may have developed into an interview. There’s no reason for you to bite the guy’s head off about it, he’s just a recruiter/headhunter and it’s unlikely he even works for Microsoft directly. Don’t let your head get so big that its gravity sucks the rest of us into your delusions.

  89. Congrats, Microsoft has bated you. You not only made your self look childish, but the links to Microsofts propaganda will now be widely distributed to Linux neutral people who were checking out the community. Maybe you did accept the job from Microsoft afteral, did they pay you to make open source look bad and advertize their propaganda links to the masses? Can I have a cut?

  90. Seriously, dude, you come off sounding like a pompous ass. “I’m gonna piss on your grave?” Yeah, way to further the “movement”.

    Microsoft is a company; they make products which are very well suited for certain tasks. They have a legal obligation to their stockholders to expand their profits, which requires ensuring future sales (closed formats) and parallel markets (MS software on MS OS). Granted, the only way anyone from Microsoft will see this is if they browse through Slashdot or something (since you spewed your bile at a vendor), but it really shows why the OSS movement has stagnated, if people like you are “leading” it.

    Aaron Firouz

  91. So Microsoft’s recruiting practice is pretty dumb and maybe they are an evil monopolist (OK, ‘evil monopoly’ is a tuatology and ‘maybe’ is also redundant). Bag the company and its practices all you like but why make it personal towards some poor schmuck whose just trying to do his job (even if he’s not very good at it)? Do you feel better behaving like that towards another human being? I you want the moral high ground, which seems to be the desire of the open source community, you need to hold yourself to a higher standard. We all make dumb mistakes like this. Be a man and send him an apology.

  92. Haha! Eric, your reply made my day :) Too bad they have managed to hire some important open source people, like Daniel Robbins (the guy who started Gentoo).

  93. Although I share the sentiment of Erik I do not share his way of speaking. It simply was childish, funny yeah, but then so is 2 year old throwing a temper tentrum.
    Erik you represent the community (although not in as important manner as maybe you think you do), and as such you should think about how you talk. You should have been more professional.

    That said you could also have been just as mean if you were more careful with your reply, with more power and wit behind it, while helping your cause out more.

    As it stands we all look like bunch of zealots (and I do know some of us are just that), who should be locked into a little room, preferably with computer, and never let out in case someone may see us.

    In other words, what could have been a wonderful (and funny) opportunity, you turned it into just another mud slinging contest.

  94. A nicely crafted response showing wit and irony would have been just as effective and given a better view of the OSS community. Now we see the childish side.. sigh…

  95. While I can appreciate the humuor, we’ve just knocked 5 years off of Linux ( and open sources ) image. Try to consider its a really big “team” effort and not everyone would like to appear like a misguided 7th grader.

  96. Frankly, Eric, I’m disappointed in you. Imagine what your reply could have been.

    While I delight in withering invective when done right, this was not done right — in particular, I think you blew your chance to be really informative. “You suck” is never preferred to “Here are the reasons why this can never happen.” Every word was wasted that didn’t convey the calm, cool solidity of a life apart from Microsoft. If that were ever important to you, and I think that it’s vital, then you’ve thrown away an opportunity to teach just to take a cheap, easy shot.

    You’re an embarrasing and foolish spokesperson, Eric. You’ve failed yourself by not being consistent, and the rest of us by not being an even halfway decent example. It’s a shame you claim to speak for any of us. I for one would rather that you didn’t say another word on our behalf.

  97. This isn’t funny, and it isn’t subtle just because he was polite on the phone. I expected a well-written, objective, and logical logical message explaining his “no thank you” (if making a point was necessary at all). But instead, I read a sophmoric rant that basically just said, “I’m hipper than you’ll ever be.” and “Look at how important I am.” It certainly didn’t enhance my opinion of open-source development and how it is the best thing for the world at large. 10 minutes of my life that I won’t get back!

  98. Perhaps it’s just a slow day at 1 microsoft way? It may even be the silly season still, so far west.

  99. Only if you can do it by riding in on a winged chariot over the smoldering bodies of Ballmer and Gates to the gnashing of teeth and the lamentations of their women. (Then again, they might be cheering you. I think Ballmer is Taliban at heart.)

  100. I’m not sure which is funnier. Microsoft’s ignorance, or ESR’s bloated ego. All in all, a good chuckle at both of you.

  101. MS hiring ESR does seem like a rather silly idea but I’m sure a simple “no” would have sufficed. That said, writing such a rude e-mail seems rather like taking the opportunity playing to the gallery. I’d have kept away from the rhetoric and given my answer by “showing them the code” ;-)

  102. Why be nice on the phone yet so vitriolic by email? Are you hiding behind email so that you can be nasty without being uncomfortable about it in the presence of your target?

  103. Another failed recruitment effort on behalf of the Secret Linux Malware Team that slaves away in the sub-basement at Microsoft!

  104. Thanks for the laugh. It is a shame, though, that so many people of the Open Source community missed the subtlety and focus in your response. I am sure, however, you were quite professional in your telephone conversation. Thanks again… it make me laugh on yet another lackluster day supporting XP…

  105. I think the same effect of the response could be delivered without the filthy words.

    Other than that, great stuff.

  106. Pop quiz. Out of the two persons involved in this e-mail exchange, who came off as the least arrogant and self-involved ?

  107. A remarkable lack of grace towards someone who expressed an interest in employing you! A simple “thanks, but my interest lies elsewhere” would have sufficed and left a positive impression on someone who might impact your life further down the road.

  108. That reply just goes to show how immature and out of touch ESR is. What an undeservedly egotistical wanker.

  109. Why is it important that Mr. Raymond be polite? The community in question is large, diverse, opinionated, and individualistic. The “Voice” of the community comes from anyone who will back it up with action, so what any one person says is relatively unimportant. He said what he wanted to say, and it doesn’t reflect on anyone else.

  110. LMAO!

    Did you ask Microsoft if you get to use swear words and throw chairs at work?

  111. Haha, you ignorant fool! The email was spoofed.

    Mr Raymond, YHBT.

    (Mad props to Trolltalk & GNAA.)

  112. Eric, that was priceless.

    To those who think it was childish on his part to answer like I say look at the whole thing. ESR might not be linus but he has done a lot for OSS, it’s either a mistake or a joke. If it’s a mistake then microsoft should take more care when contracting outsiders. If it’s a joke then the answer is lacking more sarcasm and irony.

    Eric’s answer seems to me more like a nordic god crushing an spy from the dark side luring him rathen than a childish reply.

  113. Overall it seems a very unprofessional way to respond. Sure, you can dig at them easily and be rude. However, such actions go to prove Microsoft’s propaganda about opensource advocates beind zealots and out of control. While it may have been enjoyable for you to respond in such a way, you have hurt the open source community today. You may not realize it, but as a fundamental member of the FOSS world, your actions hold more weight. In this case, you have chosen to lash out rather than act appropriately and politely, which only serves to lower the overall view of the community.

  114. Eric,

    I can always depend upon ESR, RSM, and Linus for being class acts all the way and never at any time choosing money over principles…

    Oink sounds from overhead..

    Listening to Duke Tomatoe(Dr Duke)? When Pigs have wings?

  115. You seem like an angry guy. I was glad to read at the end that you were semi-polite on the phone to somebody who is basically a non-technical HR person who stands about as much chance of knowing who you are as my mom. Further, if they did the cursory 5 seconds background check like you suggest (e.g. a Google search) all they’d really find are some sites where you talk about your support for OS. Great, but again, how is an HR person supposed to translated that to “Microsoft enemy #1, don’t bother” when, in fact, Microsoft is sharing source these days (maybe not in the way you mean when you say “open source”…but how is this non-techie supposed to tease that subtlety apart?). Your acrimony that they didn’t immediately know you as Microsoft’s worst nightmare is megalomaniacal in the extreme both because a) you’re not that famous, and b) you’re nowhere near being Microsoft’s worst nightmare (but whatever gets you out of bed in the morning buddy…). Me, I’ve always hated ideologues and fanatics. In the many IT shops I’ve sweated away time, we had it all, used it all, and pointless ideology was nothing more than a way to get yourself quickly excluded from the architectural inner circle. Get a grip

  116. Mr. Raymond, once again you help bolster my failing faith in humanity!

    RE: #11, Comment by Krish:

    …They figured out you support second amendment and Bush. They thought you are one of their breed and they might have sent you this email…

    Though you say this jokingly, it suggests to me that you are sadly mistaken about a few things. Mainly, M$ is a *HUGE* supporter of “liberal” causes such as gun control, i.e., they are anti- Second Amendment, and largely pro- socialist (nigh-communist) big-daddy deep pockets entitlement crazy goverment fanatics. I’d be suprised if there were many contributors to such causes larger than M$, possibly including the Soros Foundation (though I’m too lazy at the moment to look for $ figures to support this assertion). If your impression is that “liberal” ideologues *don’t* ultimately want to control your every waking thought and action, I suggest you re-read “1984″ and “Brave New World”, authored by well known socialists and widely considered blueprints for how such “utopian” social orders could be established — then consider those plotlines in relation to world history over the past twenty years or so.

  117. Mr. Raymond, once again you help bolster my failing faith in humanity!

    RE: #11, Comment by Krish:

    …They figured out you support second amendment and Bush. They thought you are one of their breed and they might have sent you this email…

    Though you say this jokingly, it suggests to me that you are sadly mistaken about a few things. Mainly, M$ is a *HUGE* supporter of “liberal” causes such as gun control, i.e., they are anti- Second Amendment, and largely pro- socialist (nigh-communist) big-daddy deep pockets entitlement crazy goverment fanatics. I’d be suprised if there were many contributors to such causes larger than M$, possibly including the Soros Foundation (though I’m too lazy at the moment to look for $ figures to support this assertion). If your impression is that “liberal” ideologues *don’t* ultimately want to control your every waking thought and action, I suggest you re-read “1984″ and “Brave New World”, authored by well known socialists and widely considered blueprints for how such “utopian” social orders could be established — then consider those plotlines in relation to world history over the past twenty years or so.

  118. You blew it. You should have accepted, then videotaped yourself while pissing on Ballmer’s desk. :-)

  119. Everyone that calls this childish or arrogrant, etc. obviously did not read the entire article about the polite phone call before the email. Their lack of attention to detail shows their lack of maturity. I think my reply would not have been as polite, I have a worse temper.

  120. > Why is it important that Mr. Raymond be polite?

    Doing otherwise makes him look bad. If he is lucky people realise it is a joke but mostly he just looks foolish.

  121. A small touch of reality here from a former MSFT employee (and a former 3 time speaker at J1, etc)

    1) This email came from a MSFT “vee dash” account. In MSFT speak this means a vendor. In other words, this email actually didn’t come from MSFT. It came from a third party who has in the past or currently does subcontracting work. In other words this is a third party head hunter with basically no relationship to MSFT

    2) Its pretty ridiculously presumptuous to claim that they offered you a job, as you did in your reply. Since when is a form letter from a head hunter a job offer?

  122. So email reply was not so *polite* but that is how life is. I know few guys who wanna go and work with M$. I told them it is crap idea. I’d just forwarder this URL to them :). I like your reply.

  123. It’s a shame that Eric displays such contemt and hostility. On the phone, his tone and attitude were different. But given the impersonal nature of email, he saw fit to act infantile and tarnish the open-source movement yet again by what can only be described as childish outbursts. As it now stands, open-source still has a long uphill battle ahead of it, if it is to become the de-facto standard for business. As you ask yourself, “what impression do we want to give to the business community in order to further gain their trust?” don’t be surprised to realize that contempt and hostility is not the way to share your message.

  124. RE Comment #122 by Walt Sullivan :


    Another failed recruitment effort on behalf of the Secret Linux Malware Team that slaves away in the sub-basement at Microsoft!

    Shouldn’t that be Secret Linux Undermining Team ?

  125. This made me laugh, and brightened my day. I find all of you grumps that think he’s unprofessional and childish way too serious about the whole thing. It’s not like this was some big forum with media coverage. It was a personal response to a probably not-so-personal attempt at recruitment. His response was an exaggeration, and that is what makes it art and humor. All of the grumps can go jump in a deep lake of professionalism and proper conduct when “representing the community”. Lighten up, people.

  126. Given the typical fashion sense and degree of basic function of the typical open-source advocate, I’d say their criticisms that Eric was childish, classless, or unprofessional amount to pots calling the kettle beige. It’s not as though you lot are fashion plates with degrees in art history and the ability to order knowledgeably in good restaurants.

    Eric, write more of this stuff, will yez? It’s good to know I’m not the only one who does.

  127. A v- email address at Microsoft is an external Vendor. Hence, this person is not employed by Microsoft. Microsoft is their client.

  128. Isn’t this a great chance to take a step further and sue Microsoft for an unsolicited email (spam). Whatever money you get out of it can be used for open source software development! :)

  129. That was not a particularly mature response, Eric. As much as I respect your vision, you’ve just made the F/OSS community look like a bunch of asses, publicly.

    Personally, faced with your situation, and the same offer, I would have responded with a simple “You don know who I am, right?” and included some key URLs that the recruiter could use to look up your accomplishments. If you wanted to twist the knife a little, you could include a Google search amongst them, so as to force them to use the search engine they most greatly detest.

    It’s all about the artful, civilised response.

  130. It’s a good thing that you didn’t return the ‘affectionate hug’ when they tried to ‘embrace and extend’ you :).

  131. why oh why didn’t you take the guy’s offer and went for a coffee? i wonder how far the process would go.

  132. Pretty funny. I got the same email from Mike Walters.
    To be honest, I can totally picture Torvalds working for Microsoft.

  133. Mr Raymond, you came off like an ass. Yes it was funny, but not really the image an “OSS Evangelist” should be projecting.

    not to get to far off topic, but crazy_otto you must either relly be crazy or not have read the books you mention if you think “1984″ and “Brave New World” were socialist blueprints for “utopia”. They were _warnings_ against just the type a fascism that has been creeping in to both “liberal” and “conservative” government. I think Micro$oft is firmly in the Capitalist camp, so accusing them of socialism and “nigh-communism” is also way off base.

  134. I gotta say that while it’s somewhat funny that you would be asked to interview at MS, your lame, childish response really doesn’t help OSS any. And if this is what it takes to prop up your ego, my thoughts go out to your poor wife.

    Anyone outside the community who reads this, will think that we’re a bunch of loony 14-year olds, who still think potty humor is funny. Not the ‘movement that’s going to change the software industry’.

    Of course, in your considered wisdom, you realized that the person who was contacting you was a recruiter, and doesn’t really know the ins and outs of the OSS movement, and your (rapidly declining) status there. NOT! You proudly wear your tunnel-vision glasses, and think that anyone who has any connection with MS, must be a scumsucking pig and should be treated as such. Wrong!!!

    This is (IMO) a mistake that many in the OSS community make. You dislike MS with such vigor, that nothing they do can be right. Well, that’s just stupid. They have a lot of problems, and behaviors that are bad, but to simply write them off like this, leaves you unwilling to accept that they might have products and marketing plans that work , and that could be learned from. Know thy enemy! Wanting to beat them, by understanding what they do well (as well as poorly) doesn’t really seem apparent from this drivelling diatribe of yours.

    And, oh, you were nice to him on the phone. Yippeee! So, then tearing him a new one in email is fine then?

  135. It seems to me, that all the guys who’ve written the “you’re an egotistical twit” comments, don’t really get the joke….

  136. IMHO that reply was childish, immature and highly unprofessional, and to be honest, I’m ashamed to be fighting on the same side as you. Replies like that bring the whole Free Software side into bad light.

  137. One of the funniest things I’ve read in a while. My drink went through my windpipe and ended up all over the monitor. Suggestion on the moon, “when it is actually made of green cheese” would be more appropriate, I know someone who was stuck on the question, “the moon is made of green cheese” true/false, on a civil service exam for more than an hour while everyone around him laughed their heads off and repeatedly were in danger of being ejected from the exam. The green cheese analogy appears to be well known so it must be on a lot of civil service exams or some urban legend or something. Anyway, ESR, thanks for making my weekend.

  138. For all of you who think that he has hurt the OSS community by his words, think again. Sure, he could have organized his thoughts a little better, but I would have done the same thing. Besides, does it really matter, I mean look at MS. Ballmer and Gates went public saying that they were going for F’ing kill people. F’ing (The actual word) is far from what I expected to hear from the corp. type. Especially from the richest, supposedly most “Intelligent” company in the world. And, throwing chairs around is also far from the CEO image I had…

    Good job Eric… Show those bastards what we are made of… Playful cleverness… Just like RMS said…

  139. This could have been a good opportunity. Unfortunately Eric appears too smart by half.

  140. Surprising how many people here talk about “unprofessional response”. Unprofessional response to what? To a robot generated invitation? To “professional” work done by the HR research team? I think that such comments are from folks who always finish a letter with “Very truly yours” to somebody whom they couldn’t care less about.

    To a JB who “hates ideologues and fanatics” – that what moves the human world!

  141. Someone else said, “Your [ESR's] writings are garbage.”

    I rather enjoyed “The Art of UNIX Programming.” I could have liked it more if ESR didn’t have a fetish for the bloated emacs editor.

  142. For those people who thought the response was somewhat rude in the above letter, ESR is a veteran of that gigantic virtual psychiatric inpatient unit we know as Usenet. Usenet is a place where the attempted (and often successful) complete obliteration of a person’s psyche/ego takes place on a routine basis…it’s an extremely psychologically destructive environment. Given that background, Eric probably thought he was being relatively gentle with the guy…by comparison, he no doubt was. ;-)

  143. Good god. Could you be any more arrogant? ther may actually be *some* people in the world who do not bow down to you and think you are the god that you think you are.

    Are you above common politeness??? Why not a simple “I am sorry, but due to philosopshical and ethical differences I think myself and MS would be a bad match, but thank you for your consideration.”? It’s people like you that give open source a bad name. Have the *maturity* to be civil at least.

  144. This is my answer to those that tried to disqualify Eric Raymond.
    I’ll try to be as objective as possible.

    (1) Open Source and Linux ARE Microsoft worst nightmare, if you don’t believe it, just look a MS’s required filings before the FSC. One year the main competitor was identified as IBM and Linux second. The following year’s filing identified Linux as first.

    (2) Eric Raymond’s is the OSS first and main dedicated ideologist (i.e. that’s his only role in the movement). Eric is welcome in places like IBM and so many other, which wouln’t even consider inviting Richard Stallman (with all due respect to RMS).

    Therefore, it is pertinent to say that Eric is Microsoft’s worse nightmare.
    Heck, I think that many of us can ad should say “I am Microsoft’s worse nightmare”.

    -Ramon F Herrera
    Cambridge, MA

  145. The reply was polite, alright; for a hacker. And I’m still laughing… Guess the guy still wonders what the hell happened there.

  146. Seems like a clueless M$-curriculum-vitae-hunter-bot.net got to the wrong mail address ;-)

  147. He was mostly just angry becausee Microsoft didn’t recognize him for bein a member of the illuminati. Had they bowed before him, he might have replied with less anger.

  148. You think there might be a chance for me to win a position at Microsoft? I don´t know diddley squat about programming and stuff, but I am an accomplished bastard.

  149. Eric, I have loads of respect for you and your efforts–I heard you speak at Netscape after your meeting with the execs about going open source. But I’m bummed that, when it came down to being a class act or a rude jerk (to a hapless HR guy, no less), you chose to be a rude jerk.

  150. News Flash, ESR is actually the only human in existance. All others are facet’s of his divine light.

  151. Funny, this is the error I got for trying to post my last reply.

    Who do I call for support?

    Fatal error: Cannot redeclare add_magic_quotes() (previously declared in /public/html/esrblog/wp-comments-post-googlymoogly.php:4) in /public/html/esrblog/wp-includes/functions.php on line 1818

  152. Actually, you are misunderstanding their overature. $soft is a technology aquisition firm.
    Do they innovate ? Well, a little. Do they aquire the useful work of others ? Bigtime. Do they attempt to buy out their competitors ? You bet, bigtime. Individual or entity: it makes no difference. $soft will attempt to use dollars to eliminate a threat first. If not successful theywill then attempt to put them out of business, even if it means becoming a convicted Monopolist.
    Long ago $soft fell off my list of reliable honest business partners after they attempted several times to put companies I worked for or had an intested in as a $soft partner out of businesss after we helped them establish new markets through our technological and business help, and were making $ that they decided they wanted.

    So, their overature to you is an acknowledgement that Linux and open source is a severe threat to their business. Beware: their next steps will most likely be much more ruthless.

  153. Dear Eric,

    I often consider you to be one of my role models. This, however, is unnecisarily and annoyingly rude to microsoft. In my opinion if you want microsoft to change its ways, the best way to do it is from the inside. The worst that can happen is that you’d be fired and then you would of tried. Its not fair to be so rude to the employment manager. I’m sure he handles tens or hundreds of refferals a day. Mabye, perhaps, someone was actualy trying to help microsoft make a change by starting to hire people who believe in the open source ideals.

    Sincerly,
    ~Donald Guy
    Donald Guy
    Aspiring Hacker

  154. >Dan Kane Says:
    >September 8th, 2005 at 4:49 pm
    >
    >There is no acronym, or emoticon, sufficient to capture the amplitude and painful >explosiveness of my laughter.

    there is now… BAPEL (Big Amplitude, Painfully Explosive Laughter)

  155. Ha, thats funny. ‘How can we not be evil’. Hope Micro$oft replies to your email. That would be a good read. Thanks for sharing this.

  156. I think that open source is like the tech-boom of the late 1990s in California. There is no fundemental sound financials behind it. It’s bound to crash in 3 or 4 years from now. You may find investors to pay your salary now, but wait and see in a few years time. There was no need to be impolite the Microsoft. You could have just said ‘no’ like the rest of us. Your poor-manners only go to harm the view the world holds on the open-source community.

  157. ” You’ve maybe heard about this “open source” thing?

    You get one guess who wrote most of the theory and propaganda for it

    and talked IBM and Wall Street and the Fortune 500 into buying in.”

    Eric,

    Wow, aren’t you just being a pompous asshole? Looks like I’ve found the self-appointed leader of the worst group of zealots in the software world.

    Everyone else:
    There’s basically two theories on business. Either, instrinsically, ALL BUSINESSES ARE EVIL, which means that Microsoft can’t be any more evil than any other company, OR that BUSINESSES CANNOT BE GOOD OR EVIL, they just are. Which means that Microsoft can’t be evil, it is just a business.

    Go and point your hatred at things that will make a difference years down the road.

  158. Dude. I loved your reply. I would have done the same thing like most of the commenters have said .. You can do no wrong when it comes to replying to Microsoft. I wouldn’t say I worship you but you’ve done so much for the OSS community that if I was gay I’d probably give you a free bj.

  159. Oh, they can be really funny when they want to, can’t they ?
    Personally, I think you should have tried very hard to get hired, it is always easier to take down the establishments from the inside :-)

    Good to see the movement / community or whatever we are is still composed of people, and not slick non-human corporate shadows of people.
    Freedom is, among other things, the freedom to be rude and nasty!

  160. Eric, you come across as a total arrogant ass. I love linux and promote free software where I can, but I am embarressed by you almost everytime I read something you write. If Eric is the “voice” for free software, then we truely do have a long way to go. Can’t we have some sort of professionalism on our part. Your reply sounds like a 13 old wrote it.

    Matt

  161. # Ramon F Herrera Says:

    > (1) Open Source and Linux ARE Microsoft worst nightmare,
    Ok.

    > (2) Eric Raymond’s is the OSS first and main dedicated ideologist
    Eric Who?
    Linux and Free Software are a colaborative work of countless programmers (for hire or “just for fun”) around the world…
    Writing a book and thinking you are someone else’s worst nightmare is only a psychological problem! :-)

  162. I thought ESR’s reply was entirely appropriate. I’ve heard from recruiters who obviously had not read my resume. They are wasting thier time and everyone else’s. Considering the violent tantrums Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer are famous for ESR’s reply is appropriate.

  163. Is it Microsoft’s new slogan:

    “What do you want to drink today?”

  164. I love the respoonse you gave to Microsoft! Good for you and the rest of the open source community.

  165. I suppose it’s possible that some Linux people will go over to Microsoft. But only if they’ve been turned down by Google…

  166. Eric,

    Playing along for a few phone interviews might have provided some interesting insights.

    Its possible that Mr Walters isn’t familiar with your reputation and may have harvested your name from somewhere. Where that is might give some idea about how wide a net Microsoft casts for its talent.

    Its possible that Microsoft is making a legitimate offer. If so, the recruiter might have some intereting information regarding their s/w development strategy (if they actually have one, that is). Its also possible that, while legitimate, the employment is only designed to aquire their competition’s key people and bury them in some useless R&D department.

    It isn’t unusual for companies to make initial contact through third parties if the recruitment might be politically sensitive.

  167. I’m sad to say that the reply was inapropriate. Even if someone is my worst enemy I won’t behave like that towards him|her.

    I think this throws OSS in a bad light… But anyway I’m more of a Stallman fan. :)

  168. Hey, maybe Microsoft’s HR team had too much booze, but still your reply was juvenile.. you could have done better… Also, its not like they don’t have good talent there.. they have lots of it.. just that they are all on the wrong side.. and MS being a software company (needing to make profits one of its primary motives) can never come around completely..

    Well.. shareholders are people too.. if you take a closer look at it.. most open source projects indeed get funding from the economy thats kept alive by for-profit companies like MS or from DOD (which is run on tax money, run by the economy, run by profit motive companies.. get the drift?)

    And you being polite over the phone is no excuse for writing such a mail. You’ve disgraced the FOSS community..

  169. Sounds like a flea has become angry and decided to really beat the dog here. Relatively speaking, a good swish of the tail will distance the flea from their target. You see Eric in the real world your talk and bullshit are cheap. What, constructively, have you done lately to make the world a better place. How many millions have you personally contributed to the less fortunate to help in their education. Negativity is not what the buyers of MS products deserve. We help in the positive philanthropy. By the way, Eric, in what orafice in your body does your brain really reside.

    See there is another side to all of this negative crap.

  170. I think, you missing the point. There are no evil forces in business, there are only interests, and there is no reward or punishment to what you do, but consequences… You just miss the opportunity to get into a company which is everything but not static, the company which is the synonym for change and you do not even understand that you could change something in it, pursuing the proactive approach not acting like a primitive fool. Instead this you acting like somebody who owns the ultimate truth. My dear friend, one thing is certain, YOU HAVE TO LEARN in the coming years. And last but not least, you miss a good life for your children and your family, that’s a crime, because Microsoft offers you a normal job, not tried to hire you to kill someone.
    And just for the record: I don’t understand what your quality Microsoft tried to hire is? I know a bunch of guys Open Source and proprietary as well, who are ways above you can dream about, and they never get an offer from Microsoft or any other large company, that’s a shame.

    And yes I am using Linux and I am not a Microsoft PR.

  171. No reply would have been much better than your juvenille response. Your community needs to harness as much class, professionalism, charisma as possible if it expects to ever be taken seriously by the average consumer, who sees Microsoft ads on television every night. Please, please exercise professionalism and restraint and take a deep breath before you respond to emails. They live forever out there. You will be remembered much longer for responses like this, than for your work. Especially considering that you responded so caustically to an automatic form letter, sent by a low-level HR person.

    Take yourself a little less seriously. You are only hurting your cause.

  172. Love it. The only way Microsoft will “not be evil” is when their monopoly is destroyed.

  173. Let me just say that intstead of being a ungrateful ass, you could have just said no thankyou and moved on, but you just threw it back in the face of a recruiter that has nothing to do with the overall decisions of M$. If anything you should have been happy that they would even think that you could help their mission in the first place instead of putting you as a second rate engineer.

  174. Eric,

    They may have been passed your name by a prankster and I am sure the “higher-ups” were not aware of the recruiter’s actions. Believe it or not, 99.9% of the people in the world have no idea who you are. I think the idea of wanting all software to be open is stupid. If you don’t want to use software that is proprietary don’t use it. It astounds me that people like you have wasted so much of your life for something that does not matter in the end. What will you have done with your life? Oh well, you had a bunch of harsh opinions (which are shared by a vocal minority of technical people) for MS and even got to hotdog in front of them and shove it in their face!!! Yeah!!! That must have been the crowning moment in your life!

    Geez…Get over your self. The ego you have is at least as big as Bill’s and and Steve Jobs put together. I honestly think that is one of the big turn offs to the open source “movement” because so many of its leaders are holier than thou, egotistical arses for no good reason.

    I hardly think you are Eric Raymond is Microsoft’s worst nightmare. Now THAT was hilarious! Google maybe, you…HAHAHA.

  175. as some folks commented up there, the reply is quite humorous and worthy of going down in the records – except for the rude language and supercilious bragging.

    eric’s reply gets cheers from the slashdot crowd (12-year olds?) but will never be circulated like the famous torvalds-tanenbaum flame war (which actually gets printed in many linux books)

    perhaps eric REALLY represents the oss culture, expletives and all.

  176. Did they want to hire you while having little or no knowledge of your real reputation (as in ‘here’s someone other programmers think is smart, let’s hire him’) or did they want to BUY you, much like they would buy a smaller competitor? Your response, while appropriate in its own way, prevents these questions from being answered. If you had played along (but not signing anything (such as an NDA) before they tell you the Next Great Thing you”d be doing there), perhaps some of these questions could have been answered.

  177. I enjoyed the article, and highly respect your contributions to the computing world. I feel that I must be a member of the silent hourd(this is my first ever post – i read often, but never posted) I feel Microsoft has moved the computing world forward further & reduced the prices of software more than any other company or companies (i have been at this for about 25yrs) – well another, apparently radical point of view – so I am wondering why you have felt it necessary to be snide in your remarks. Remember that Microsoft provides better products than most, more intergated than all and overall their products are easier to use and do the real work I have to get done.

  178. Right. Cause Google only does Linux stuff. Oh yeah, every client-side app they dev is for Windows. Heh.

  179. To all the wankers above who say Eric wasn’t being “professional”… you people are part of the problem. Who said we (or Eric) have to “act professional” and fit into your nice tidy little boxes of “proper corporate behavior”? The sooner that conformist, soul-crippling mindset is destroyed, the better!

    I don’t care if the offer was legit or not. I liked Eric’s response.

  180. Saying “No thanks” with a slap on the face for microsoft is fine.
    But you dont need to use such childish language… pissing on grave… and the splash thing…
    This will undermine the credibility of Open source programmers as kids and not proffesionals.

  181. That was just a form-letter sent to your email address (and thousands of other email addresses from a nondescript list) by a recruiting contractor working for Microsoft. It was definitely not an offer of employment. You overreacted (rudely) because you are full of yourself. The situation had nothing to do with Microsoft nor the Open Source effort. May I recommend a vacation away from the computer?

  182. i don’t like the road taken by the opensource software…we are becoming something like a totalitarian dictatorship…

    (like in all the good totalitarism i need to say that i commonly use ubuntulinux…maybe someone could tell me that i’m an “evil bastard” you know…)

    i hope opensource will remain the alternative to an horrible os (“alternative” only because most people is too stupid to use it) and not an ideology, it would be the end of all.

    sorry for my english, i’m italian.

  183. Wow, oh great mighty one! You have been worshipped by so many anti-establishment socialists that you’ve lost touch with America. I ask you, oh arrogant genius, how are we supposed to pay our mortgage when everything we work on is free?

    Why are you so arrogant? Just rememeber that you are where you are because you were the first to exploit the rebellious nature of the armies of college kids who have no clue what it means to succeed in a business environement. You gave them a new ass to kiss when they suddenly realized that they would have to get a job where there was no professor. They have no idea what it means to actually be compensated on your _value to the business_, not your popularity rating amongst the PhD holders.

    Just remember that if it wasn’t you, it would have been someone else. Don’t spend so much time loving yourself, you haven’t done anything but cause a gigantic revolution against modern capitalists markets. You haven’t done anything but set the stage so that companies like IBM, Sun, and others can exploit the young developers by convincing them to work for free to serve the needs of their global consulting practices, all of which have ensured that your mortgage gets paid. At least in the Microsoft model, _everyone_ gets a decent salary, not just the “rich and famous” rebels like yourself.

    You, sir, are the epitome of socialism and you are a disgrace to American technology business. How nice it must be to make a living being an anti-establishment rebel masquerading as some sort of freedom fighter. For that, you have my utmost respect. Just cool off on the anti-Microsoft crap. It’s tiresom, boring, and ineffective.

  184. Well, looks like you took the offer!
    You then accepted to post the pre-written “response” from Microsoft as yours, so that we loose all our credibility and make us look like idiots, so nobody wants to do business with “those kind of guys” anyomore.

    One day the truth will come out;
    till then you fooled us all…

  185. Talking about giving the open-source community a bad name… If that’s what you’re up to, you’re on the right way…

  186. I have been a linux and GNU supporter since I first installed and started using Linux a few years ago. And reading this letter (I am unsure if Eric himself wrote this letter or if it is a forgery ), I think the response could have been more diplomatic. I feel that hate should not be the driving force for an(y) ideology – opensource or otherwise.

    http://linuxhelp.blogspot.com

  187. Eric,

    I’m afraid I have to agree that you have done credit to neither the open source movement nor to yourself. It would have been quite appropriate to say “no, thank you, I’m not interested, and here’s why”, in a polite way. Being childish doesn’t do our side any good.

  188. Needing to say to people “Do you know who I am?” is just another way of saying “I have a low personal esteem”.

    People like you Erik make me ashamed to be part of FOSS.

  189. What a lost opportunity! What could Michael Moore or Morgan Sperlock have made of this? A whole docupic getting into all that’s wrong with MS, that’s all. You call them and say “hey, want something good? I’m going to accept the interview. You want to come along with some cameras?”

    It could have been used as the core of an entire MS exposé. Probably would’ve been bigger than Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11 and Supersize Me combined. Could’ve really served the OSS cause much more than a pretentious, juvenile e-mail.

    Careful Eric, you may end up more a nightmare for OSS.

    What a stupid waste. What a shame.

  190. Someone who lives near his house, please show his reply to a judge and get his gun license cancelled.

    I wonder why most of the thumbs up youve gotten are from people who blogroll you ?

  191. Erric just get in there and make it “open microsoft”. Ask them for Your actings maybe MS want to be free but they dont know way to do that :D

  192. > 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.

    I’m a computer engineer , this is going to be printed on my next T-Shirt… definitely….

  193. Eric, you are clearly not accustomed to being approached by recruiters; otherwise, you’d appreciate the difference between a “phone screen” and a “job offer”. M$ wasn’t offering you a job. Their vendor probably sent out hundreds of the same boilerplated message to other software developers, and he undoubtedly has no idea (nor cares) who you think you are. Your reply was impolite and angry, and it reveals more about you than you realize. You are a small man, trapped within an even smaller cranium.

    I think it’s a little closer to the truth to say that you turned M$ down because, in your heart, you realize that there’s really no way that they would have hired you, anyway. You lack a fundamental understanding of the manner in which companies operate. M$ has an obligation to its shareholders to return a profit on their investment. Seeking a profit by controlling physical and intellectual assets is neither evil nor immoral. You, like many other FOSS guys, lack a sense of scale. Killing human beings is evil. Selling proprietary software isn’t. And, before you get up on your high horse, try to remember that FOSS guys are handing over source code to the Chinese government at zero cost, and that same software is being used to improve the Communists’ communication infrastructure, repress dissidents, stifle speech, and prevent the flow of information within Chinese society. You and Stallman like to talk about freedom but, ask yourself, how many Chinese citizens are benefiting from your embrace of “freedom” on behalf of the Chinese Communist government?

    Evil has many faces. But some people look in the wrong places to find it…

    Grow up.

  194. When will the purists realise that there is more at play these days than giving everyone free technology. Give technology away for free? Free patent licences to competitors? Ever heard of shareholder value? Maybe GM should give away cars instead of make money. If you are not interested in a job with MS that’s fine, but why lose the respect you had with such an unprofessional display. The .com boom is over, it’s not enough to be just an oobageek anymore, you need to know how to do business too.

  195. Well.. I think that it’s all said and there is nothing more to talk about…
    “Or were you going to stick to something easier, like talking Pope Benedict into presiding at a Satanist orgy?” Eric S. Raymond

    We can’t forget that MS people would post here to… I know you know it Eric.
    Open Source Addicted.

  196. Very funny reply. To bad you won’t work for M$. I’d really like to hear faint oinking sounds from above, and the blue moon with polkadots… oh boy oh boy, I just have to see that .. oh boy oh boy

    Disclaimer:
    I’m not sure about your choice of color for the moon. I’d prefer a orange moon with green polkadots… but whatever, just stick me the source and I’ll modify it myself…

  197. What’s the reason of some of “Adults” using the words “childish” or “stupid”?
    Is it for Erric’s rejecting the probable higher salary in Microsoft or his sticking his opinion consistently!

    How come those “Adults” just can not contain different opinions!

  198. I might not like M$ and 90% of what they do, but your reply sounded like a lunatic’s ravings. You are doing open source more damage than anything else. I sincerely hope you don’t have kids…

    PS: I tried to reply on your level so excuse me if I didn’t.
    PPS: Lets just hope the people I convert to OSS don’t ever hear about you.

  199. ESR already explained on his website

    and yes of course he is a normal person at phone, he even explained it was very polite and he is married, has a job, money and all the things of a normal people

    but.. he loves to trash microsoft in an email , come on, you surely did some stupids mad things too just for fun , he did just that.

    about esr, stallman and all the stuff : Stallman is NOT ESR. Eric Raymond is NOT in Free software foundation and is NOT fond of the GPL.
    and Stallman (and fsf) is just some man with knowledge in one tiny academic field : software

    he is not a politician with tremendous powers to change china

    but on his website , Stallman speak of many things not software related and gives some hints, some other way to contribute to OTHER THINGS

    yes my friends : these two peoples have lifes too, but when it’s about software they don’t care if you don’t know that.

  200. Microsoft ARE in real trouble ! And boy I LOVE it !

    This one point is the one that counts:
    “The moment they stop being predatory evil bastards, their stock price will tank and their options pyramid will crash and it will be all over”

    Many people dont get that part yet. The de-facto loss in momentum as a “power stock” is scaring the shit out of those M$ supporters and the whole supportive industry behind. Most lack the IQ to see what is coming up. As soon investment analysts fully understand, that software prices won’t go up anymore ever again in M$ style, MSFT is off the buy list for most funds. The pyramid scheme will go the way down…..
    That’s the real thing that matters to investors, and people at MS$ are scared like hell about that effect. It’s real a and its coming.

    I love it !

  201. Wow, Eric, you do get a lot of pissy whiners on here, don’t you?

    I’d say the last line, whilst funny, was perhaps a little too far, but the letter as a whole was great, and might get the point across to these idiots.

    To the fools who think peaceful co-existance is possible – try pulling your heads out and taking a look at how M$ actually work, rather than just presuming that because you play nicely with others, so do they. They don’t, and they use everything they can to win, and stay winning, including thousands of lawyers and billions in cash.

    If you work with them, expect to get beaten horribly.

    And those of you moaning about the responce, Eric has every right to say as he sees fit. He didn’t speak for you, and he didn’t put your name at the bottom.

    Lastly, those saying to join and change the company from the inside? It NEVER happens. CEOs get removed for trying to. A mid-level exec isn’t going to stand a chance. Even a grass-roots movement will be carefully replaced to a man over a few years by the heads of the company.

    “They sentenced me to 20 years of boredom, for trying to change the system from within.”

  202. Nice one Eric. Normally I might have been critical of the tone you used with them, but the way Microsoft approached you was just so cheeky and so absurd that there was nothing you could do but be bluntly honest with them.

  203. reading replies and comments is the funniest thing…
    *lol*

    kain

    macrohard

  204. Man, I support the OSS for a long time, but your email is the stupidiest thing i ever seen for a while.
    Funny ? Yes indeed … needed ? only for slashidiots …

    Btw, rude email but polite conversation ? Hhmmmm, that is called hypocrisy where i live.
    Really, get a life and grow up. Beeing egocentrical is the nature of 7 year old kids.

  205. Eric,
    good deed, proves you are on our side ;)
    apparently alot of the “replies” here are from microsoft fans…. we tend to ignore those.

    esr nice one. :)

  206. Funny!…
    Funny to see the “idiotic job” of some posters here trying to do the psycological “work” they are paid for by MacroShit.
    There are people who never learn… you born like that or do you have some “special training”?
    Linux ISN’T a matter of money!
    Linux it’s a “way-of-life” concept… “principles”, did you know what that mean?

  207. Might it be that if they can’t win they just try to employ all the people. Normally they buy the company, now they are buying… er hiring the people.

  208. I think that the original template mail was an insult …

    Read this again:

    “I would love an opportunity to speak with you in detail about your interest in a career
    at Microsoft, along with your experience, background and qualifications.”

    Did Eric send his CV to Microsoft? That was what I thought when I read these lines.

    as if everybody wants to work for Microsoft, and their recruiters are doing favors to those they spam …

    Emil Per.

    P.S.: I am just experimenting with a new English dialect, so please, don’t waste energy flaming :)

  209. >Jeremy Fischer
    >You and Stallman like to talk about freedom but, ask yourself, how many Chinese citizens are benefiting from your embrace of “freedom” on behalf of the Chinese Communist government?
    >Evil has many faces. But some people look in the wrong places to find it…Grow up.

    Dear Mr Fischer…

    If you want to give comment and saying what ESR or RMS doing is wrong is your choice .. it’s just between you all… but please don’t involve other people…or other country … Don’t think you’re so good and other people bad… Don’t think your thinking/believe is good while other thinking or beileve is evil… good or bad is just philoshopy and it depend on action … if you said Chinese Communist government is bad… think ….how many country they already invade??? how many country they bomb and kill people… but SOME country who always champion in democracy … and think democracy is good … become invader.. become conqueror… become killer … I think that country democracy sytle is worse than Communist… if they think osama is bad .. why not just capture osama… why need to bomb the whole afghanisthan …. if sadam bad … just capture sadam … why they need to bomb the whole iraq… more over osama or sadam is nothing todo with that country… is that democarcy .. if it is … it worse than SHIT!…. they have millon of atomic bomb … but when iran just want to develop it … cannot?… what democacy is this… is just plain stupid! Is democracy means busy body and always interfere with other country internal affair… Man look at yourself… look at your own country… Please help Katrina victim not katrina refugee? Ceh! even their citizen they call refugee .. what a double standard?? What a democracy is this??

  210. What’s the reason those “adults” using the words “childish”, “small man”, “stupid” so frequently here?
    Is it for Eric’s rejecting of the probable higher salary in Microsoft, or for his claiming his opinions consistently.

    How come those “adults” just can not accept different opinions?

  211. > UPDATE: For those of you who missed the subtlety (which was a surprising lot of you)
    > I was quite polite to this guy on the phone.

    Dear sir,

    I think you overestimate our capacity for understanding subtlety. Even though you
    shove it into my face, I fail to see it. Would you care to explain it to those of us who
    are too coarse to appreciate the finer points of communication?

    Best regards,
    Baffled Sparrow

  212. You should have took their offer. I can’t think of a better way to fight the enemy than from within.

    What is it they say ‘keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer!!’

  213. Events like this one explain without a doubt Open Source software is still considered childish and unprofessional by many. I can’t believe I’ve just read something so stupid and immature from someone who calls himself a hacker. Do us all a favor, Mr. Raymond, please tell your ego to stay quiet and do as little harm as it can.

  214. Actually, there would be a perverse sense of satisfaction to going to the interview, accepting a position, getting a paycheck, and then telling them what is wrong with their business plan. It could have been done quickly enough that you could have just taken a few vacation days to “go work for MS”, and then returned to your original position. :-)

  215. To all you people bitching about ESR’s reply not being polite – Who ever said that Micro$oft and/or the scum who associate with them deserve any kindness or cordial treatment?? They are all just evil greedy bastards, true enemies of free thought and progress, and therefore they deserve to be treated like the slime that they are. Are you polite to a leech that tries to suck your blood?? No! You burn it off and stomp it under your boot heel until it is dead. I too look forward to the day when we can all piss on Micro$oft’s grave. Remember who the enemy is here, this is war to the death, and if you’re not supporting FOSS, then you have chosen the dark side.
    OK, now let the flaming begin from the pacifist losers who wish to make peace with the evil empire.

  216. Um yea, I have no ties to the OSS community – I was linked here through a “humor” site. But if I was tied to the OSS community, I’d be mad
    as hell that someone in a respected position was such a massive jerk-off to an innocent m$ employee (or vendor as it were). So he didn’t know
    who you were, neither did I. Now I do. Your name is Eric, you’re involved with the OSS community, and you’re a huge ass. Got it.

  217. Your reply ROCKS! … I just can’t imagine how the POOR guy felt at the exact moment of receiving your slapping reply :))
    All in all… A superconducting hell is dellusive… I would have given the offer a second thought if I were you… :p

    You rock man… you all truly rock! ;)

  218. Bloody hellfire!!! (yes…THREE exclamation points…and any Pratchettite should know what that means ;-)

    220+ responses to this thread and rising…have you managed to repair all the scorch-marks on your underpants ESR?!?!?

    Man…I thought it was a bloody good retort…acerbic for sure, but damned funny. I certainly didn’t expect to see such a torrent of flames headed Eric’s way…

    I’m also not sure of exactly *where* these folks have been, that they are unaware (and/or unappreciative) of the critical impact ESR has had…too young or blinkered I suppose.

    *shrug*

  219. Wohahaha ! Like “Dan Kane” said, “There is no acronym, or emoticon, sufficient to capture the amplitude and painful explosiveness of my laughter.”.

    Gee, this stuff just made my day :)

  220. My favorite part is the MS recruiter’s appointment site…Apache and Opendatabase power this site…not to mention the Sun servers it runs on…

  221. A thought from France. This guy is a vendor, not a Microsoft employee. He’s job is to do recruitment and he certainly doesn’t know anything about computing … otherwise he would have proposed you a strategy managing or an evangelist slot.
    Cordialement
    Pierre

  222. :-D

    Thanks! I am recently dabbling in Linux after spending too many years stuck under the thumb of Micro$oft…

  223. Quoted from Jeremy Fischer said on September 11th, 2005 at 8:37 pm :
    “Killing human beings is evil. Selling proprietary software isn’t. And, before you get up on your high horse, try to remember that FOSS guys are handing over source code to the Chinese government at zero cost, and that same software is being used to improve the Communists’ communication infrastructure, repress dissidents, stifle speech, and prevent the flow of information within Chinese society. You and Stallman like to talk about freedom but, ask yourself, how many Chinese citizens are benefiting from your embrace of “freedom” on behalf of the Chinese Communist government?”

    I don’t get it. Have a trip to my country, that’s my suggestion.

  224. Ricky,
    3 observations:
    1. Am I missing something here? You got an email. I believe billions are sent daily. You were included on a list, probably of thousands, by a guy trying to do his
    (non-evil) job. I’m sure you are short listed for the Nobel Prize in Science, but what’s you’re reaction going to be when you don’t win?
    Nuke Stockholm?

    2. I presume that over the course of your career, you have worked with other “humans” from Microsoft, some of whom may not have been
    congenitally evil? Have each of them been flambeed in a similar way?

    3. Did someone pee in your Cheerio’s the day you received the e-mail, or are you always this naturally sanguine?
    In the word’s of Albert Einstein, ” Chill , dude”!

  225. You sort of dropped the ball on this one, Eric.
    You should have seen how far you could have gotten through the recruitment process, tying up their valuable time and taking advantage of whatever they were prepared to spend on the courtship.

  226. Quoted from wangxiaohu September 12th, 2005 at 1:20 pm:
    “I don’t get it. Have a trip to my country, that’s my suggestion.”

    Yeah, I suppose tanks rolling over students in Tiannanmen Square was some kind of “aberration” for the aging benevolent Chinese dictators. Same thing for the arrests of anti-government dissidents. Here’s a novel idea: Try criticizing the government in Beijing openly on this blog, if you disagree with my assertions.

  227. Quoted from wangxiaoho:
    “I don’t get it. Have a trip to my country, that’s my suggestion.”

    Start a Falun Gong website, that’s my suggestion.

  228. Eric,

    I share many of your same beliefs about open source as you do, and that is a great thing. I did find your response to Microsoft humorous. However, I would have used a bit more DISCRETION and a bit more DIPLOMACY in your choice of words.

    If you are going to criticize Microsoft, or another proprietary software vendor, please DO NOT take an “in your face” approach. You can reject an offer, but please do it diplomatically. The impression you leave will last longer than you think.

    Check out my blog (http://www.livejournal.com/~cybernightlife) and see examples of my points of view and how I criticize Microsoft.

  229. Jeremy, are you suggesting that proprietary software is the solution to totalitarianism?

  230. Microsoft could care less about ESR or Stallman or Linus. If Raymond was actually famous or influential outside a very small circle of similarly maladjusted geeks his response would just be more evidence of a gigantic ego and an odious narcissism. He’s a nobody in the Microsoft world, way way way down below the Dept. of Justice, Larry Ellison, the EU, lawyers, saturated markets, software pirates, Apple, the price of shrink wrap, lower even than Palm OS. The timing of traffic signals in Redmond has more impact on Microsoft’s business plans than Eric Raymond. To imagine himself as Microsoft’s “worst nightmare” is prima facie evidence of mental illness, but not out of character for someone who also imagines himself as an incarnation of the god Pan. To respond with such a foolish and immature note to a contract recruiter exposes how unfamiliar Raymond is with normal corporate hiring practices and the form letters recruiters send by the boxload — how many programmers don’t get those letters and phone calls all the time? Raymond is so unaccustomed to this kind of human contact he reacts like a cave-living hermit might if someone put a television set in front of them.

    Eric Raymond is a worst nightmare for the open source community he claims to have founded and claims to represent. The sooner the community ditches maniacs like Eric Raymond the sooner it can build credibility and professionalism that will get a reaction other than laughter out of Microsoft.

  231. I think you should have went through with the interview and talked to them about how you planed to help them release all of their software under the GPL since that is clearly the only reason that they would want to hire you in the first place… You could have recorded the whole thing and released it under the creative commons license or something…

  232. Eric,

    Did you realy write that response e-mail? I’m very suprised that you would use such infantile language, especially after reading ‘The Art of UNIX Programming’.

    Eric I think you let us Open Source Programmers down (especially us Perl Hackers).

    You would have been better of by replying with a short essay which compares Linux to Windows. Re-iterate the good/bad points.

    I feel like turning my back on your work, throwing away that book. I am not sure I want to be associated with you anymore.

    Dissapointed,

    Martin

  233. I got that, and though it was a joke, so I just forwarded the message to the “sender” and told him that it may be interesting for him to know that this email came into my inbox.

    I’m not a very good programer, and I’m not very know even in my country, just locally on my city, if I can say that.

    I thin this guy buyed some outsourcing email list and send this generig mail to see what happened :-)

  234. Ok, most of us who initially read the post thought it was funny. But the tones emanating from the replies changed the atmosphere from a comical post into something sinister. I think the author gets the point, stop the belittling. If you all are professionals as you claim to be, let up, we are all fallible.

  235. As a Chinese citizen, what I can tell you that China is changing. Ask one of your friends who knows Chinese, to visit one of our news website (e.g. news.163.com or news.sina.com ), you will find that some news, which its content was forbidden in the past, are showing up in the headline position right there. The door is not fully opened, but it’s opening. I believe our government is doing its best effort.

    Some Windows users are criticizing Linux everyday, because they never actually sit there using one of our greatest Linux desktop products, instead of just glancing at some old screenshots. Yes, they might still complain some features in Windows are lacking in Linux if they do so. But Linux is changing. It is changing at its fastest pace and these changes are suprising me everyday. That’s why I am loving it.

    What you don’t believe, is what I do believe.

  236. This is just like asking Condie Rice to take an appointment with the Iran government.

  237. Unless some unforeseen disruptive technology shows up on the radar next week that wipes Redmond’s clock within three years, we’re looking at slow painful decline for Microsoft maybe a dozen or fifteen years from now, but I do not foresee Linux being the actual culprit, but the culture of free software and open source in general. Apple’s rising fortunes is the most troubling, it’s very well possible they may be the ones to seriously challenge the desktop supremacy crown from Microsoft. They make great products but once again the code is closed off to users. To win the hearts and minds for our side, it wouldn’t hurt to develop a GUI desktop that’s as stable and friendly and easy to use as Aqua (without looking like that GUI of course, knowing the response from Apple’s vicious legal team).

  238. LOLLLLLLLLLL!!!

    AWESOME answer Eric…AWESOME!!

    F*CK MICROSHIT and F*CK BILL GATES and that fat ugly f*ck Steve Baldhead. I hope someone pulls out a redeemer and blows that virus away once and for all!

    Microshit. What a disgrace to technology!

  239. Let’s review the bidding here, shall we?

    1. Someone receives an anonymous recruiting email from Microsoft – thousands go out a day.
    2. The ego of one of the recipients of the broadcast email is very huge and obviously overblown, in that they actually think it was done with a high degree of specific intention towards them.
    3. Egomaniacal recipient responds with extremely childish and unprofessional rhetoric.
    4. Microsoft now has another arrow in their quiver against OSS. Pointing, quite rightly, at the imbecilic response to an automated email, from one of the self-proclaimed OSS “leaders”. “ Are all Open Source people that ridiculous? And, do you want to work with THEM?”

    The email was obviously an oversight by people who simply didn’t know any better( cause maybe Eric isn’t that damn famous around Microsoft). The true word inside Microsoft about Eric is that he is a blind heretic and unemployable. Further, his erratic and unpredictable behavior actually helps Microsoft in the long run. The entire brouhaha around this inane email situation is a case in point. Sit down and shut up Eric, you just aren’t that special.

  240. “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.”

    >I’m a computer engineer , this is going to be printed on my next T-Shirt… >definitely….

    Guess, the demand could be even bigger. Will someone starts a mass production of these T-Shirts?

  241. Unless it’s changed from back in the bad ol days when I worked there the “v-” in the email addy doesn’t mean “vendor” it means “variable” as in you are a variable asset, not permanent- e.g. contractor.

  242. This was amusing.

    There is no way of knowing whether or not MS was at work to hire away one of the enemy ranks. As someone noted, Sales & Marketing (my profession) will always ask, because someone may say ‘yes’.

    The real fun for me, would have been if you had kept a straight face and just gone to the interview and ‘applied’ for the job with your normal stated views and accomplishments detailed in your resume. For example:

    OBJECTIVE: I am seeking a position in the OSS community to best utilize my code analysis and creation skills with my background in project management and industry analysis, to foster the exponential growth of the OSS community worldwide. My past track record demonstrates my ability to meet the goal of creating OSS software as the preferred choice for OS platform operations in personal computing, small business and enterprise solutions. (…you get the idea.)

    Then, for the rest of us…detail the reactions you received from that. Speaking personally, I would have pissed in my pants as I read it.

    Thanks,

    arvan reese
    chicago, il
    ‘working for da man’

  243. > Jeremy Fischer Says:
    >Yeah, I suppose tanks rolling over students in Tiannanmen Square was some kind of “aberration” >for the aging benevolent Chinese dictators. Same thing for the arrests of anti-government
    > dissidents.

    Dear Mr Fischer,

    How many US citizen sufffer when Chinese dictators rolling over students in Tiannanmen Square ?

    But how many Vietnam, Afganistan, Iraq and some other third world country suffer when US dictator bomb, invade, kill and interfere with that particular country internal affair.

    …. and the bombing and killing still happen until now! Man please open you mind…

  244. I got the same email as Eric S. Raymond :-)

    I wonder if they’re just googling for common names in alphabetical order, and Ray and Raymond came up recently.

  245. Right on, I just fell off my chair in the middle of lecture in class! Eric, that was BEAUTIFUL! Not only me but the other 10 in my class give a standing ovation!
    Also, everyone who talks s#!t, If you cant bring yourself to sign your “John Hancock” SHUT THE F@$K UP!!
    and if this “embarasses you, grow some F@#KING backbone!

  246. can we have the whole mail with headers?? as attachment maybe as EML :))

  247. I only wish you folks (open source and linux) had a bit of good taste in appreciating certain good aspects that lie outside your scope. If it wasn’t for microsoft, PC boom would have taken a bit longer perhaps and what’s wrong in making money on your hard work? Dont start on monopolies and stuffs, courts, judges and government have taken care of that…

    BTW, do you linux guys know of better operating system designs beyond your backyard? If you did, you’d rather have gone back there and sweated your way into a better product that is better for reasons other than “just being free”.

    Throw in your comments, but watch for facts than your bias or fumes.

  248. My reaction to Mr. Raymond’s reply is a bit schizoprenic.

    - Is this an irony, sarcasm? If yes, it is good one and made me laugh.
    - If not, I agree with that, and it is written in a very polite way (from a person which is “armed and dangerous”, do not forget ;-)
    - On the other side, it could be more polite and could influence more people in positive way (but, does it really matter? as I wrote above, schizoprenic …).

    Anyway, thank you.

    -PAVUK

  249. As already mentioned, one could deem the response mail slightly rude (although I almost fell off the chair laughing). But on the other hand, I also consider it a lack of respect if someone is sending mass mails (!) inviting to an appointment…the sender of the initial mail must have been quite optimistic if he really thought he’d get a useful response.

  250. grow up boy.

    how can you possibly expect that this kind of answer is doing the community any good?

  251. Thats amazing, a short answer “not interested, thanks” and everything should be okay.
    But a man who means he can change the world, when he only make other´s work down, he keep it up and let the world know that he is a men of honor – who dont work togther with the devil?

    Is this the right way?

    I thought men´s like you, people of the open source, are more intelligent. But it looks like your the same like the people and companys you go against.

    By the way, why is your computer hardware no open hardware? :lol:

  252. At the first… sorry for my bad English (I’m a German one)

    Do you really belive it’s the right way to sell your ideas for nothing? I don’t think so… the open source products are simply not as good as MS-Products… that’s all. Show the users the that open source products are as good and easy to use as MS-Products and you will win. But this will never happen, because 100.000 programmers all over the world, working for nothing will never be as productiv as 10.000 MS-Employees earning money!

    Sorry, but you will never piss on MS’s grave, MS will win at the end – and you know that!

  253. “Additionally, if you are aware of any current or previous colleagues
    who might also be interested in opportunities at Microsoft, I would be
    happy to speak with them as well. Referrals are always welcome, and
    are greatly appreciated.”

    Please.. im not your colleague at this time, but i’d gladly if i was your brand new colleague..!
    No, i really don’t care if Microsoft is against an ‘open-source way of life’, no.. it doesnt matter to me, i swear!

    So.. please, let me be your new colleague! You probably makes me a happy man and, believe me, almost a rich man!

    It may sound as a joke, but isnt! I’m trying my best to write these few words in English.. and im not able to do jokes, neighter in my own language! But that’s ok, i can learn english in few weeks.. maybe 2 or 3..! All i ask to you is: Tell that guy from Microsoft that i’m your Friend, no no no, tell him that i’m your best friend ever (i can even remember those childhood times when we play together around the park..) and i’m really, really interested in opportunities at Microsoft.. is all you got to do and nothing more!

    Well.. I hope you could do it for me!

    Thank You,
    Your Best Friend!

    Well..

  254. Carl, why do you believe no open source developer work for money?

    Do you think e.g. Red Hat is a charity?

  255. (sorry for my english, i´m spanish)

    Great answer for a great mistake!!

    Don´t care, this email is not going to be published on CNN.

    For Carl (over me):

    People as selfish as you, makes the world an uglier place and capitalism a stronger power.

    If you wanna work with M$, refill your head with money and your hearth with shit, but don´t be a sucker.

  256. I think you should have taken the whole thing for what it was – a joke. Someone is obviously having a laugh at the MS guy’s expense. Your reply was unnecessary, not funny, just kind of self-congratulatory.

    Was the job rejected as a matter of principle? That’s the word a few posters have used… or is it more just about MS-bashing… is the goal to spread the word about open source to ordinary folk, or to bring down MS as a company?

    So, you write a book, but what have you changed? You say you “talked IBM and Wall Street and the Fortune 500 into buying in” – but these are big companies that are just as “evil” (if you want to use that word) as Microsoft.

    If you want to make a difference – if it’s all about principles – you need to get the vast majority of ordinary people to buy in. Or maybe that’s just not profitable in the same way that getting companies like IBM to buy in?

    If it is about principle, and free software, and all that, then I don’t see getting the Fortune 500 crowd using open source as being all that principled. It’s just saving them money, which they won’t pass on to the rest of us. They’re more likely to shed jobs and offshore.

    So: a new adventure – if open source is so great, get ordinary people using it. Make their lives different. Save them some money. Cos right now, the message isn’t really getting beyond a relatively small group of computer enthusiasts, and that’s why MS is still on top.

  257. Dear Eric:

    While your reply was amusing, you did no service to the community, or for that matter yourself. Overall a very childish and self-indulgent diatribe that simply makes us all look foolish. Not much to be proud of here.

  258. I dont know if you’re gonna read this (I mean, there’s so many comments), but would you have considered a job at MS if you were put to lead a reform of the company by open up formats, complying with new standard (no more embrace and extend), stop vendor lock-in and migrate into a more relaxed relation to FOSS? By this I mean; would you consider a job where you finally could make The Beast unevil?

  259. -1 TROLL

    >>> Do you really belive it’s the right way to sell your ideas for nothing? I don’t think so… the open source products are simply not as good as MS-Products… that’s all. Show the users the that open source products are as good and easy to use as MS-Products and you will win. But this will never happen, because 100.000 programmers all over the world, working for nothing will never be as productiv as 10.000 MS-Employees earning money!

  260. Also sorry for my poor English. I’m just another German…

    @Carl: Your arguments are old and poor. There _are_ more programmers in the free world than at MS. They _are_ more qualified and have a better motivation.

    And whereever quality might exist: Surely not at Redmond.

    @Eric: Your reply is even better than the stupid request. Go on that way!

    (Insert emoticons wherever you like)

  261. Oh that’s really good. The recruiter could have performed a simple Google search from his Windows Corporate Edition computer and easily found out how deep he was about to get himself into trouble. Unless of course M$ doesn’t allow Google useage internally and forces everyone to use that M$ $earch thing, which may or may not have ESR’s works censored or filtered to help aid the M$ collective in not thinking too hard. Too funny Eric, just way too funny.

  262. to those on this list who have argued that M$ is in the Capitalist camp:

    a true free-market capitalist responds to competition by improving their product, cost-minimizing/efficient production methods, and simply working harder and better than their competitors. M$ has done none of these things. While they do stand firm in the capitalist notion of private ownership and property rights, they have employed tactics more focused on destroying OSS than improving their own–government legislation, propaganda, etc…These are hallmarks of anti-capitalist/anti-market firms. If a firm is not market-oriented, accusations of being socialist or communist strike fairly accurately.

  263. Mr. Raymond, you may have strong feelings, but this response was so childish it borders on misanthropic. The guy just asked you if you were interested in talking … nothing more. You don’t think there’s any chance that by investigating or taking a position you could actually have MORE chance of moving the company towards your position? And the items you request ARE at least BEGINNING to be in process… the new version of Office will have 100% XML based file formats; MS offered to extend RSS and licensed all proposals (which have since changed under feedback) under the Creative Commons. Patent AND paperwork free? You do understand what contract law is all about, don’t you? Would you consider the GPL paperwork free?

    I know Steve Walli and the situation… I guarantee you that he was not “canned” for doing that. I will not smear his name publicly but you can be sure that you are way off.

    I always try and stand up for you, but you make my attempts seem ridiculous. You do so much damage to Open Source and everyone’s reputation who tries to support you. I won’t make that mistake again; I’ve stood up for you for the last time.

  264. Grow the frack up. Lacks of manners are inexcusable in and under any circumstance.
    We all despise arm twisting monopolies, but we all can be gentile.
    one_hiq@yahoo.com

  265. To be there worst nightmare, you’d have to actually accept…

    then publish all their source.

  266. I must say I’m kindda agree with Dave up there, you were too rude, that guy only wanted to talk, but in the other hand you were right he must be joking cuz who, in microsoft, would offer you a job, I saw the movie “Revolution OS” and I understand your point you just would not for any reason work for M$.

    and I really hope they dont send any mail to richard or linus, well maybe that’d be really funny lol. I’d like to see that and what would the answer be :D

  267. Hey Eric,
    I’m able to understand your answer without approving the style.

    I know the arrogance of Microsoft and their customer service which is nothing more than bullshit – but bullshit can be used to dung. If anyone is seeing the Microsoft practices outside US, she or he will understand your words and your style.

    All announcements of open documents like Office-XML is nothing more than a bad illusion, a marketing trick, repeated until the next office release is ready. Microsoft Munich (Germany) says: “Don’t be childish, we will never have an open document format!”.

    Plain spoken summary: I’ve rarely laughed so hard!

    Stay tuned

    greetings from overseas

  268. It shocks me that the person who practically claims to have single handedly garnered so much corporate support for OSS can show so little in the way of skilled communications as this. Ignoring the bragging in the message itself, the attitude alone is arrogant and childish, something deserving of a 6 yr old who needs some level of discipline. You show yourself as a symbol of OSS, and in the process, you give the whole community a bad name. As a personal response to the offer, I do find it quite humorous, but as a representation of the community, it’s immature and lacks propriety in every way.


    Joshua M. Murphy

  269. Tsss, tsss, now, now, kiss and make up. They played a prank on him. Send him a dedicated and signed copy of The Cathedral. He will surely frame it for his grandchildren’s inheritance :-)

  270. Forgive me if I am repeating what has been already said, but I feel compelled to reply when I hear remarks such as:

    I read that the CEO of BitKeeper said that open source is not a viable business model…

    It is a mistake, I think, to believe that “open source” is a “business model,” and should, therefore, be evaluated on the basis of cost. To do so is to equate unlike things. “Open source,” or to put it more generally, the freedom to exchange ideas, is, if not a pre-requisite, then is at least a great incentive to markets.

    We have learned that markets, and not the least, freedom, require a series of juridical fiats to flower. Having so recently had the unfortunate experience of having lived in societies where “business” was conducted by companies that claimed the mandate of a sovereign; moreover of a sovereign answerable only to some divine being, the authors of the US constitution and laws sought to limit the lifespan of patents and copyrights, to make corporations answerable to a new sovereign, the people, to separate church and state, and to take other steps necessary to ensure that liberty could exist, such as permitting people to gather and debate freely, establishing free libraries, and establishing a postal system.

    So, what we have found through long, painful experience, is that commerce tends to thrive where ideas flow freely, and suffer where they do not.

    I believe that the intent of the movement to reform copyright and patent law, and of the open source movement, is to maintain a free society – one in which capitalism is possible.

    In order for markets and “the useful arts” to flourish there must be some limit on ownership. The progenitors of novel techniques must be rewarded, but so too must the benefit of their labor be dispersed to society as a whole. And, fundamental to all, scholars and citizens must be free to exchange and discuss ideas without restraint. Note the distinction between techniques and ideas — it is a critical one.

    It is the belief of those who argue against irrational patent law and excessively lengthy copyrights that their benefits are not devolving to society in a reasonable period of time.

    A Moliere-esque send-up of those trenchant (though unwitting) spokespersons for monopoly capitalism, human “resource” specialists, is a worthy task indeed. Given the disingenousness of Microsoft, in their tendency to don the mantle of “innovation,” “entrepreneurialism,” and “captalism,” and in their tendency to flip the field of the debate and to claim that “open source” advocates are somehow opposed to “captialism” and “freedom,” then satire, irony, and ascerbic wit become … necessary. Microsoft has clearly demonstrated by their actions that they seek control of markets, and that they will break the law to do so, and that they will distort, lie, buy, threaten, cajole, stonewall, or use any of a million tricks in their arsenal to that end.

    Thank you, Mr. Raymond.

  271. Eric….you crack me up…you should have taken the job you simpleton…

  272. Dear Eric:
    Good job, I am so proud of you …
    You are the damn worst nightmare to them and M$ leaders can not get rid of that perpetual nightmare that easy!

  273. Eric

    your wife is just ‘tooo’ right… its time to to prepare for ‘their’ worst night mare

  274. > I know Steve Walli and the situation… I guarantee you that he was not “canned” for
    > doing that. I will not smear his name publicly but you can be sure that you are way off.

    So what we have here is a statement that you have a really good counter-argument, but you’re not going to state it. If you don’t say who you are, what Walli was fired for, and how you came to know it, you’ve said nothing.

    > You do so much damage to Open Source…

    What damage?

    And what would the damage be if Eric worked with Microsoft? Couldn’t Microsoft claim some degree of legitimacy in the open source community if Eric was negotiating with them? If Eric negotiates with Microsoft, isn’t he implying, by his behaviour, that he believes that Microsoft might be swayed, or that Microsoft has some genuine interest in being more open, or in making a fair deal? Isn’t he implying that there is at least some potential benefit in working with Microsoft?

    If Eric writes a letter in a diplomatic, respectful tone, doesn’t that imply a different set of opinions on Eric’s part than if he ridicules them? You acknowledge that Eric has strong feelings. Maybe those feelings are so strong that a more sugary or neutral tone, or even no response at all, would be deceptive. Traditionally, this kind of deception is called a “lie of omission”. Are you suggesting that Eric distort the truth? And if so, shouldn’t there be at least some potential gain to offset the deception?

  275. Reading your response which could have been a short ‘No thank you’, and reading how you look at yourself I’m wondering if you probably envy Bill or whomever the success which you never had.

  276. I don’t understand why you did not take this chance..
    This might be the ideal opportunity to fight & beat the evil from the inside… not in the sense of “if you can’t beat them, join them” but in the “Trojan Horse” sense.
    Aditionally, it might even be a pleasant experience to “kick some asses from the inside…”

  277. Eric,

    A rubbish reply from a person of your stature. My respect for you just took a small dip :-(

    Ketan

  278. It seems that your work made you blind for the real world. You’re fighting like David against Goliath and any offer for cooperation is taken as an attack. Take your enemies serious, or they will kill you.
    Well, if you really would believe that OS has any important place in the world, it’d be much better to join the evil empire and change the things from inside out.
    What happens if anybody of the OS gurus we’d like so much stand against such an employment? They (M$) will seek in the second row, hiring the stuff doing the real work, not the high flying thinkers, and finally your ideas become soap bubbles because neither you nor your contributers are still able to materialize them.
    So, at the end, their (most of other writers here) laughter will stick in their throat, then.

  279. you know – the best thing that could ever happen to all of us is when you would really join the ms-team. thats probably the only chance to convince them that Open Source is the best thing ever happend. I think that ms just doesn’t have the right people to open up their minds. So please go ahead an do your job in a gentile and friendly way!

  280. Ok, so I’m a bit of a late comer here, but I have an opinion so I might as well express it, right?

    ESR,

    I must say that I’m rather amused by the whole thing. If M$ came to me and wanted to employ me, I would have turned them down in true Texas style. I would have probably come out with a similar reply that’s just as rugged as the one you sent. Three cheers for you!

    To those I see commenting on how “unprofessional,” “childish,” and “egotistical” the reply was. Grow some balls will ya?!?!? Not all of us want to be corporate drones working for a convicted monopolist company who thrives off of vendor lock-in and the borg effect. Get over it….

    Just my $.02US…

    Jay

    (yeah, yeah, I know the USD is worth less than the paper it’s printed on now, but hey, it’s the thought the counts!)

  281. Hi folks,
    just read all the stuff. wonder why those non-americans apologize for their english ??? Ever heard an American pronounce Napoli, Barcelona or Düsseldorf correctly?
    besides, I’m deeply impressed with the moral power of the world’s supernation! never will use filthy words again,
    holy shit!

  282. I just read about this issue on the german “Pro-Linux” website and really enjoyed Mr Raymond’s reply to Microsoft! That just made my day … tons of chuckling and laughin’ from “old” europe ;-)

  283. Bravo. Don’t let the nay sayers get you down. They are lamers that don’t understand what it means to believe in something. They don’t know what it means to have their blood boil over a wrong they have witnessed. They are the same type of people who would walk on after noticing a person being mugged in an alley, wishing that something could be done and hoping that it doesn’t happen to them……

  284. Eric, you need to grow up and face the challenge on a more graceful path. Pissing on graves with Aunt Tillie Watching wouldnt be nice, would it be ? Be more professional, keep the jokes apart, live up to your true image, be diplomatic and dilligent.

    To Err is human, and if some bloke in M$ erred – you should have politely declined the offer and continued with your Open Source war. He was just earning his wage by trying to rope in a good hand – and you think you ridiculed him ? Now the splash wet your own shoes with the stink, didn’t it ?

    I feel that you let us all down, didn’t you ? So atleast for the future Grow up, and bring back some grace to the moment!

    Amen

  285. Yes, we can be gentile…Or we can be Jewish, like myself! :~)

    You know, in the late 1970′s, it seemed like anything could happen in the field of microcomputing. Now as with every “new” technology that gets itself established, it’s gone establishment. It’s all become routine, “innovation” is largely the same old rut, and a few mega-corporations run almost the whole game (thank “Bob” for Linux and other open-source movements, the last surviving vestiges of the potential shown to us in the old days).

    As for working at Microsoft, I don’t think that Douglas Coupland’s novel “Microserfs” was written out of thin air.

  286. Oh good! If you’re not to be working for Bill, perhaps you’d like to come work for us. We’re developing a revolutionary user interface we call “Open Source Bob (TM)”. You see, instead of a “Desktop” the user will “navigate” to an actual desk! I can’t say more in this public posting.

  287. i read your letter and your reponse. I dont know you from adam, but i think you should go to work for the bob and tom radio show, they like to use that immature houmour on there.

  288. do you have some problem in joining m’soft?
    you’ll still be writing some stupid code.
    open source or closed source…software suxxxxxxxxx!!!

  289. Eric,
    I read this entire post, and although I am just a nobody in the OSS movement myself, after having read the responses from some of these so-called FOSS developers, personalities (lack thereof) or whatever-the-hell they want to call themselves, I say this….It’s a free country, and speech is free. If they don’t like how you handled this, it is probably just out of jealousy. If it isn’t, then they should keep their nose out of your business before it gets knocked off. I personally laughed my ass off and am glad that someone somewhere in this world is not afraid to speak his mind. I never noticed mention of your representation of FOSS in their e-mail anyway, so it really is a personal matter. For the rest of you who wish to admonish someone for manners instead of reading the real situation, grow some balls!!! Good job, Eric !!! Here’s one more ATTABOY for the record!!!

  290. For those of you who might contemplate taking a position at Microsoft as something you might actually consider in order to further an open source position withing the halls of Redmond itself. Consider that barring the obvious reprecussions, like a total loss of credibility, one should probably anticipate that taking a position at Microsoft would involve the signing of various legal documents that would effectively tie you up and gag you before you start your first day in your new position. Dealing with the devil is never wise.

  291. I’m ok with attacking an anonymous company name (MS), but if you start laughing at people, including their contact data, well, to say the least, that’s very rude, and very childish, and cowardly.

    your email was such an arrogant text. could be soo much better. oh yes, and calling YOURSELF ms worst nightmare? very modest guy you are.

    respect to ms.

  292. “…the new version of Office will have 100% XML based file formats;…”

    That’s not 100% correct…Microsoft IS incorporating features into their version of the standard to keep people locked in. They say these features will provide more things for people, as the current is not good enough. (Apparently not good enough for BOEING, OpenOffice, Australian Archives, etc, etc).

    The comment you’ve made is utter crap of public statements from Microsoft.
    XML is an open-standard. Microsoft’s version won’t be.

    As soon as you let Microsoft touch a standard, you might as well give them your keys to your house, car, boat, etc. Because, they’ll lock it in and then make some spin on it via their PR machine, and make money out of you.

    No one will care, because no one has a clue what the heck is really going on.
    The only folks who will be vocal about this issue is the open-source community.

    Anyone who has one ounce of brain matter will know MS wants control.
    Control = Profits

    The day that MS actually supports a standard that they don’t try to dominate and add their “features” in, is the day when Eric will work for Microsoft…I think USA has better odds in putting a man/woman on Mars than Eric working for Microsoft.

  293. Yeah, I got the same email – from a different v-user@microsoft.com – a few weeks back. It’s a form letter, lots of us get them. It raises a few questions about their HR processes. In the past my responses have varied from curt and somewhat rude to, these days, polite and enquiring (I get contacted by Microsoft once or twice a year) – not because I want to be hired but because I’m curious as to why they blanket mail so many people…

    A few folks have asked for headers… here’s the headers from the latest recruitment email I received (with my own info xxx’d out):

    Received: from mail2.microsoft.com (mail2.microsoft.com [131.107.3.124])
    by xxx.xxx.xxx (xxx-n.n.n/xxx-n.n.n) with ESMTP id j7NFL6BW025204
    for ; Tue, 23 Aug 2005 08:21:07 -0700 (PDT)
    Received: from mailout2.microsoft.com ([157.54.1.120]) by mail2.microsoft.com with Microsoft SMTPSVC(6.0.3790.1830);
    Tue, 23 Aug 2005 08:21:06 -0700
    Received: from RED-MSG-40.redmond.corp.microsoft.com ([157.54.12.204]) by mailout2.microsoft.com with Microsoft SMTPSVC(6.0.3790.1830);
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  294. Three thoughts:
    1) It’s amazing to me to remember that ESR worked so hard to re-brand ‘Free Software’ as ‘Open Source’ because he wanted to make it more palatable to business. He obviously knows nothing about business – he confuses a recruiter’s letter for a job offer, then responds like someone in junior high. How is this sort of thing supposed to be better for our ‘tribe’ than when RMS talks about principles? (I love the posters above who seem to think that ESR’s ‘principled’ stand makes it okay for him to be rude. ‘The ends justify the means’ is not a principle I would care to be associated with.)

    2) As a gun-owner, libertarian, and FOSS supporter it drives me nuts that the most vocal members of these communities all seem to be ill-mannered bumpkins. I forget who said it, but the quote that comes to mind is: “There’s nothing worse than ignorant people with legitimate grievances.”

    3) Eric, you once told RMS to ‘shut up and show us the code’. Fair enough – he’s shown you emacs, gcc, and quite a bit more (including the GPL, which is the ‘code’ for the philosophy of our ‘tribe’, whether ESR likes it or not). Why don’t you shut up and show us the code? Comparing yourself to Linus and RMS is hilarious, except that you’re not kidding. They are responsible for creating much of the software and development methods used in the Free and Open Source Software community, and you’ve written some books about it. Nothing wrong with that – ‘The Cathedral and The Bazaar’ was a great book and very influential for many (including me). But you’re like a clueless TV news anchor – you keep thinking that because you told the story you ARE the story. (You’re not.)

    Tyson

  295. Come one Dave et al.!!! We shouldn’t take thing too seriously… We all have good day and bad day, and I’m sure you can say something “wrong” when you are too excited, too, right? That shouldn’t reflect who you really are. The way to judge someone is to see his/her efforts in a very long amount of time/ or even his/her life. So I don’t agree of what happened but we could always force him to send all of us a “beer” or something LOL, instead of using harsh words with him!

  296. Sorry, but you’re so…. dumb! You got a chance to make a great carrier, make a lot of money and work on exciting edge technologies. Instead, you’ll peg out on your “better-world” dreams, till you’re an old and useless guy. =:-S

  297. Hey, there is nothing wrong in trying. They think tossing money at any problem will help. They just do what they always do when faced with an issue, at least they are extending a hand, in a sense, even if it feels like a hit below the belt to you, and obnoxious. How about you offer something constructive too, even if it feels like a hit below the belt to them? A deal? Demand as a condition of employment open file formats, support of open standards, and allowing free competition, low barrier to entry, and may the best of us win attitude in a fair game, fair contest, level playing field, instead of driving everyone out of business based on lowball tacticts instead of merit and performance and customer satisfaction. I don’t think sacrificing yourself for such a thing would be a bad idea, in the hell-freeze-over scenario that they would actually agree to such conditions of employment. Such a counter-offer would sound a lot better than ‘pissing on your grave’ hate-speech.

  298. For being a self-appointed “leader” of the open-source community, you certainly lack any level of professionalism, maturity, or subtlety. I hate Microsoft as much as the next guy, and find their letter to you laughable; however, your response was uncalled for and accomplished nothing more than inflating your obviously overblown ego.

  299. I nearly soiled my armor when i read that.. way to go!!! To see that they hired Mr Robbins is to see that we are winning.

    I do agree with several comments that you should go all the way through their hiring process (and extend it/milk it if you can) with a buttload of press coverage and then give the one-fingered salute just before sign on the dotted line and say “Thanks for all the food and perks, but did you ACTUALLY think -I-, ESR, would ConverT?? Get one hell of a -serious- clue!!”. maybe concurrent posts of “Well slashdotters and FOSSers, its been great but i have to feed myself” to high profile message boards and then do that to billy.. kick M$ right in the ballmers!!! LOLOL..

    anyone who thinks that that was offensive to the community .. how? after all they do to us, how? those idjits in redmond are in need of a good sock to the back of the head for being as arrogant and rude as they are.. If software could endanger human life the way a poorly designed automobile would, Nader would be having a field day with M$!! they gets what they gets, i reckon!

    Now for the unfortunately required reality refresh..
    Eric, what you said to this tool of $atan was completely deserved and acceptible.. but just be sure to reserve that sort of comment for them only. nobody should be offended except billy$oft, being in deservement of all ire we can throw their way. just make sure that those comments are known to be in jest to the rest of the world, but lethally serious to their target.

  300. Eric,

    With an arrogant attitude like yours, you’d be perfect for Microsoft. I’m no great fan or critic of Microsoft, but your reply all but credits you with creating the open source revolution in corporate America. The beauty of open source is that it’s a community, not one self-absorbed individual (or a small group of them, like Microsoft).

    The greatest threat (“worst nightmare”) to Microsoft isn’t you, it’s regulators and large entities (governments and major corporations) choosing to explore alternatives and take a chance on open source. If you understood the economics of most major corporation’s software buying decisions, you would understand that most won’t change because it’s not worth it. The $ 200 – $ 300 paid the Microsoft for the Office suite really isn’t that much in the long run and saving that money is certainly not worth the disruption of tearing out MS Office.

    I think your vision will, in the future, come to pass. But what must always be considered is how people will make money with open source. We all have responsibilities and those generally require cash, which someone has to pay.

    But that’s just me, and what do I know? Have a happy day!

  301. LOOOOOOOOOOOL!!!!
    God damn !!!I havent’t had a laugh like this in a long time!
    Maybe I’ll write a letter to that idiot from Windoze to see how
    funny he is.
    Anyway , seriously now , there must’ve been a joke or a
    misundertanding somewhere on the way but , hey, what a hell?
    We all had a good laugh.
    God damn , this was really good.
    Eric?I wonder what you’re first thoughts were?

  302. How can such an intelligent man turn stupid overnight. Eric it is time you grow up and stop tarnishing the image of open source. The wise are neither arrogant nor sarcastic.

  303. Much as I appreciate the passion of your sentiments, it would do you well to remember that the ass you kick today may be the one you have to kiss tomorrow

  304. i am not programmer, and just heard about oss but believed in it
    anyway if im you, i’d fake agree. not to destroy it inside and so bla bla, just to know if its mistake or evil’s meant after i foundout i will apologize and simply go away and publish”famous” it as microsoft’s new strategy
    its simple to understand them without getting involve, you missed that point- i dont mean understand them as “enemy!”
    your reply sounds childish and you didnt think much too by such a reply, in anyway its an offer provided by polite way so smart polite answer should be taken

    sorry about my english..
    regards

  305. Its a great one, emoticons will not justify the laughter I had over this post.

    Being a non-Christian I still could get the joke on hell freezing or pigs flying, thanks to hell-minded Hollywood movies. However polka dots in moon escaped me. Can you please explain the context for non-Christian folks like me.

    Personally I don’t like Microsoft’s business strategies and they appear to constantly test the limits of law and possibly transgressing in some cases as in shown in recent veridicts against them. However I don’t subscribe to this “evil” theory, possibly because of my non-Christian roots. I don’t believe in “evil theory” in people or organization. I think Microsoft is extremely competitive and misguided in many ways and that’s it. I am sure, it too has good people (some “idiot savants” too) who are somewhat “brainwashed” into the culture.

  306. I’m with Stan, Dave, and anyone else here. Take a chill pill…Microsoft is changing. Do they need to change more? YES! But not to Open Source (who really LOOKS AT or CHANGES the source code in such huge applications like Office, SQL Server, Visual Studio, etc ?) or Free Software (how are programmers who do it for a living supposed to make make money?) Once Free Software wack jobs can explain those things to me, I’ll join up. Oh, and by the way, Marxism and other forms of radical socialism are dead for now. Sadly that may not be the case forever, but it is for now. Worker cooperatives are the future!!! Workes of the world unite and form worker owned businesses!

  307. Well, the biggest threat to computing I see from MS is that they keep hiring the best scientists and researchers. The last one I heard of was a great dude in the complexity science world: Gary Flake, author of The Computational Beauty of Nature: Computer Explorations of Fractals, Chaos, Complex Systems, and Adaptation.

    Sigh.

  308. Wow opinions heard from around the world very interesting indeed

    Well ive been around the world seen many different countries different cultures. I’ve been hardened to the thoughts of some one dieing for a cause i don’t believe in, or truthfully care about… Ive hated M$ for years myself rebelling in my own ways against them where i feel i can, but the fact is money makes the world go round… Actuality i think everyone knows a basic right and wrong. If hurting someone is wrong in return saving someone who is being hurt has to be a good thing. If i were being hurt i know i would appreciate the help. Innocent causalities are impossible to avoid when the monsters you are hunting are trowing their dead bodies in-front of you or hiding in a church with a knife to their throat… I hate that reality but human natures greed has, since the beginning, and will make it so till the end of our race.

    Another truth is im not to sure what open source is but i think is it the ability for a programer to see how a program is written…

    So with that definition in my mind, im sure you can make money with “open source”. But to corner the market and become a tyrant superpower you have to guard your secrets like that secret recipe your grandmother or favorite fast food vender had for whatever that favorite food you have is. Don’t get me wrong i love the fact that Tylenol has a knock-off i can buy for cheeper but i believe there are laws that make it necessary after a certain about of time where a drug or invention has till its secrets are reveled so there can be some competition. competition is the foremost building block that makes any product improve on itself. What makes software so much different then the retarded sit-up machine i see on late night TV?

  309. Mr. ESR,

    You are stucked in the yesterday. You are not a big master leader as you think you are, sorry.
    So sad. This year in brazil i meet you personally and i get disapointed with your speech.
    With this move, inmature, egoic and at last ridiculous you showed your real nature.

    Keep your mouth shut and leave the open source community free of you.

  310. You must applaud the boys from Redmond for trying.

    You would too if your milk cow is known for turning a blue screen at the critical moment.

  311. You know Bill isn’t all that bad, back in the early 80′s he just knew home computers would catch on…and no one believed him. They made those jokes about recipies etc. Well I believe one day he will open source everything and slide into the hardware business, those Xboxes taught him something. I could go on but .. and you know when that $100 MIT computer comes out, and wifi is everywhere what a world we will have…

  312. I mirror Dave and Stan’s comments. The recruiter was just doing his job, nothing more. I wonder if Eric stays awake nights watching movies of sinister villians! It’s all small stuff! Lighten up!

  313. dear sir,
    i am biswajit roy.i am 15 years old and i am living in new delhi in india i was fan of yours and i love your way of hacking i want to be a hacker someday if possible and also my luck supports me.but i was tell you i was a great fan of your codes and your tools but i was disspointed media tells wrong that should hurt my bottom of my heart .i was a dream to meet you but i was far from you can you meet me or talk to me please my dream is that i don’t need anything i need your way i love your statics and codes with complete that compete with enemies or my target i love yours tools i was to learn from you can you teach me and my heart is only loves you.i love the mostly hackers like you eric and captain z,sabeer bhatia ,ankit fadia and the hactivist,chinese gang named the great wall of china i was tell your are heroes and actors who faced the world and do the wars i want to make the world highest and most intelligent man.these companies can get all the things and tell gave money if somebody who is poor who has not to pay any money he cannot get that thing that’s why i loves you and my best wishes with you.

    from:biswajit roy
    india.

  314. I don’t think it is funny or humorous. Even MS offering a job to RMS or Linus won’t be funny, Microsoft is a Corporation, which wants to make money, and provide service to its customers.
    And if they think that anyone can help them in doing this they will try to hire them.

    Microsoft is as evil as IBM, Sun, Intel, Athlon, Apple, Walmart, Ford, Honda, Toyota, or any other company trying to make money is.

    And Eric did what a zealot can best do.

  315. although a tad superflous and generous when it came to some hard hitting language. nonetheless, the response was higly commedable. MS was desperately asking for such a reply, not for any other reason, but asmuch for thier arrogance and impunity, and the spineless nature with which the corporations world over are suffereing with the MS tax without any complaints. it was as if gag orders were issued to the suffering masses, as if they had gone deaf and blind to reality and dumb when it came to standing up to the incumbent and supprt an alternative. the situation that MS finds itself is unprecedented. the richest man in the world and the richest company in the world rules with not one person or organisation or nation standing up to it. in such a situation i would glad read this a hundred times over and glad that you came up with a great great reply.

  316. I didn’t think too much of this after I read about it when it happened. ESR is a gag and I think it’s funny he shared this with everyone. I, like many others, don’t think he was that rude. I have seen people more upset over random spam than this.

    ESR has “true grit”, the kind that lays waste to insincere formalities.

    Your still my hero

  317. Chalk another one up for the “that was a childish way to respond to a potentially massive opportunity” camp, in case someone eventually makes statistics out of this thing.

  318. Sorry, we can’t all be gentile.

    I sure hope this post accelerates the Godwin effect.

  319. I would never work for Microsoft either. I don’t want to be part of the scammy company that doesn’t innovate but copy and use its monopolistic operating system to kill off competition.

  320. Dear estimated Mr. Eric,

    You lose much face by email, and make me lose face by writing. But I must. You are good man, do not submit to inside bad feels.

    Bestest Regard,
    Shinizu

  321. What MS did was perhaps stupid. But your reply was even worse. Here is why, One, the mail was probably generated by some automated profile-analyzer tool or some automated employee referral system. Two, your reply would probably be drowned in the stack of million other mails their HR would receive. You are too immature to even matter.

    Don’t get me wrong. I have always been awe-stuck at the beauty of the open source movement – the fact that community effort could build such a robust platform. And I am sure that one day these products would reach every desktop on the planet (well, at least be on par with the penentration of MS’s products). But this can’t be achieved by a bunch of egoistic MS bashing guys sputtering meaningless crap.

    You as an individual symbolize the founders of the movement. You symbolize the philosophy, the culture. But your reply seems to be totally naive and childish. It only serves to show how rude, egoist and stupid you can be. I really don’t think this is causing any hurt to MS. Its only getting negative PR for the open source movement. It really pains me to see this. So please cut out all the crap. Keep your arrogance to yourself.

    Today, I am reminded by the humility and simplicity of people in OSS like Linus Torvalds or David Axmark, who I had a chance of meeting, in person.Their genius is the future; Not your arrogance.

    Finally, I leave you with a thought…. My mom still prefers Windows XP for her work. She has the creeps for the linux desktops. So, why don’t you better spend your time working on these issues, instead of your favourite MS-bashing-obession…

  322. Dear Bill Gates. You’ve been recommended to me as someone with mad skillz who might like to contribute to our open source project. Please get yourself a developer account, check out and start sending in patches as you can. Thanks!

  323. I have to agree that you should try to restrain yourself and treat any person with respect. I do find it funny that they tried to hire you, but one this is missing: You should have tried to recruit one of them to open source. Heh heh.

    – Mangos

  324. Wow! I can’t believe I read the whole thing, flames and all !
    I’m just an old Comp Tech that wrote apps and configured an OS for a private company, and kept all of my code public for those that might follow in my footsteps. Somewhere along the line, management decided to go w/all proprietary outsourced software (read M$ and others). It was crap, and still is, and of course I don’t have access to that code so that I could debug it. And yet, I’m expected to “make it work”.
    I was a proponet of “Open Source” before it ever hit the radar. I’ve watched it grow, and the ensuing wars that have resulted. I’m no fan of M$ and never was. Gates’s DOS was merely a ripoff of Intel’s I.S.I.S. command line interpreter. But I gotta hand it to Bill & Co. – They really do know how to quash the competition. Eric’s email reply to the recruiter had me falling off my chair laughing! I would’ve done the same (or probably worse). I don’t claim to represent any “Community” of programmers.
    While it’s true that it would’ve been much more fun to see Eric “go for it” (following up on the interview) before dropping the bomb, I still admire the guy for taking a “No B.S. attitude” towards the hapless spammer working for M$. That the Recruiter in question is a “Contractor” and not an Employee, that didn’t do any research prior to his SPAM does not excuse him from being a minion of The Evil Empire. Eric was right to lambaste him, an IMHO was fairly restrained in doing so. Thank you, Eric, for giving me one of the best laughs of this year.

  325. what Steve Walli had to say:

    On Why I Left Microsoft
    Updated (17-Sep-2005, 11:21 PDT): Added the second postscript pointing to the Business Week article.
    Updated (14-Sep-2005, 22:36 PDT): Added the postscript at the end.
    Updated (12-Sep-2005, 18:00 PDT): Added RobMen’s blog reference and corrected a grammatical ambiguity.

    Eric Raymond recently posted on a recruiting attempt on him from Microsoft and towards the end of his post mentioned:

    FURTHER UPDATE: I had my serious, constructive conversation with Microsoft last year, when a midlevel exec named Steven Walli took me out to dinner at OSCON 2004 and asked, in so many words, “How can we not be evil?” And I told him — open up your file formats (including Word and multimedia), support open technical standards instead of sabotaging them, license your patents under royalty-free, paperwork-free terms.

    I believe Steve Walli went back to his bosses and told them that truth. He is no longer with Microsoft, and what little he’ll say about it hints that they canned him for trying to change their culture.

    It was a great dinner. Eric was there, along with Larry Augustin, Pamela Roussos and Andi Gutmans from Zend, Rob Mensching (Microsoft — runs the WiX community), and my then partner in crime Jon Rosenberg. I believe it might have actually been Rob that asked how Microsoft could be less evil to Eric. Those that know me well know that’s not really a “me” sort of question. I’ve always felt actions were important and was trying to get Microsoft engaged in the broader open source community beyond strict sharing programs under the Shared Source banner. I still believe that Microsoft has a huge opportunity here.

    They didn’t fire me for trying to change the culture. I’ve met Eric and others in the free and open source software community since leaving early in December 2004, and friends have heard the anecdotal examples of things that were deeply frustrating me. I left completely of my own accord.

    Microsoft is a Very Large Company. It is wrestling (as all large companies do) with the very processes that enabled it to succeed and grow. It is at a point in it’s life where it needs to be defined by operational excellence as much as product development. The single scarcest resource is (as one friend pointed out five years ago) executive bandwidth. It takes forever to get a meeting with the very execs that can open the doors for success through their sponsorship. And once one of those meetings is scheduled, you enter data preparation and PowerPoint hell. For me, it had become not very fun. I simply don’t have the patience of people like Danese Cooper, Simon Phipps, Bill Hilf or Bob Sutor. When interviewing with companies like Microsoft, you will often hear about the incredible reach you’ll have in the world. That is of course predicated on the ability to be heard inside the company first, and on the ability to actually ship something.

    As a vice-president of R&D at Softway, I worked with a team that delivered 11 releases of software (Interix) over our four years. As the product unit manager for the same team and technology, I left the team two years after entering Microsoft because we still hadn’t shipped technology that was basically almost ready when we were acquired. We were essentially waiting on integration with a ship vehicle. Tightly integrated innovation isn’t always the right answer. (Look at the length of time it’s taken to get the new Windows command line shell out the door.) There was a recent article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on Microsoft warming up to open source. The data points were the same three small open source projects I helped launch last year. I also have a background in industry standards, and as a gross generalization, most people at Microsoft don’t care about the difference between de facto technologies and industry developed standards, and the subtleties required to engage customers while confusing competitors with standards, so I was only frustrating myself in those discussions as well.

    To be clear. I thought I was fairly treated in the acquisition (despite the fact that Softway had essentially hit the cash wall as a startup). I was well compensated as an employee. The benefits were great (but that may be shifting a little as they need to deal with the operational excellence mentioned above). I had sufficient seniority, credibility and visibility to be able to request short (~10 minute) meetings with a number of senior execs on a number of occasions. (It was larger reviews where decisions need to be made across parts of the organization that are impossible.) Three of the best managers I’ve ever worked for in 25 years were at Microsoft, including my immediate manager in my last assignment. I learned an incredible amount about business, but then I had a different set of radical business lessons running my part of Softway, so part of that may simply be a pre-disposition to learning. I haven’t met anyone outright evil, (and I’ve been in Bill and Steve reviews on a number of occasions). Only a couple of people were sort of broken with respect to their thinking, and they certainly weren’t execs. I still have the utmost respect for the company and its executive team. If you looked at my annual poll results, you would see a “happy” employee.

    I just wanted to build things and have fun again. I believe free and open source software are incredible business tools, and a lot of fun. I left Microsoft to work for myself after a little over five years. I’ve done this twice before in my career. I left EDS in 1991 and in 1994 I left Mortice Kern Systems (MKS). The latter lead to the founding of Softway. I’m one of those people that would rather rock the world of 40,000 customers, than touch the lives of 40 million. I like small growing companies.

    Early this year, Optaros convinced me I should help build their company, and it’s been a great experience ever since. Life’s too short.

    Postscript: I was going through my back log of reading this evening and came across Hugh MacLeod’s “How to be Creative” again. I appreciate everyone on the planet that reads blogs or themself blogs has probably come across MacLeod by now, but just in case you haven’t, I’ve included the link. Re-reading parts of it again summarizes so much of the way I try (and sometimes even succeed) to create over the past 15 years. (Yes, I’ve known Jeff Haemer that long, and he continues to push and encourage me.) MacLeod just captures the ideas and the work so perfectly. If you haven’t discovered “How to be Creative” — please do.

  326. “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” (M. Ghandi)

    Just to say you Eric thank you for all your contributions, If Americans are pissed of with you, move to South America, we need more people like you :-)

    Nano.-

  327. Hi

    With all the design concepts and other dross floating around in my head, I’ve become completely paralyzed on what to do next.

    On one hand, I want to do something and I want to do it right. On the other hand, I don’t know what this “right” is.

    I want to use controllers, but I don’t really know what they are. Right now, I have a bunch of cobbled together pages. I could move them into classes, which would probably help factoring them into more controller oriented things, but I want to get it right the first time. And I know I can’t.

    In this mentality, I think I have bitten off more than I can chew. Every small step means more steps when the final design comes into place, but without small steps I cannot get anywhere.

    I need help.

    Imran Hashmi
    http://www.visionstudio.co.uk

  328. Eric,
    I guess you’ve missed an opportunity to demonstrate what the world is looking for. Anyway what you’ve said made me Laugh :)

  329. This is pretty weird. I got a call from Microsoft for an employment opportunity. They recruiter was really happy with my qualifications. He told me he would call me back in 2 days to set up an appointment but I never heard from him again. When I called the number that was on my called ID for him it didnt work. Pretty strange!

  330. Sorry Mr. Eric, But Why do you consider your self the GOD of the open source community..
    The open source community didn’t chose you to talk instead of them
    I really loved your books (Art of unix programming and Cathedral , Bazaar).. But You don’t present this people
    RMS represents them.. mayb.. Linus represent them .. no , You represent them .. no too
    But it was a good reply in othre parts except the part I mentioned above

  331. Stumbled across this site while surfing and after reading the replys I must make this statement,now this is coming from someone who uses both open source and MS.And I must say this could havebeen handled with a bit more class.
    If someone were surfing around trying to find info about OSS and found this site and took the time to read this I think they would walk away with the opinion that the people who are talking up OSS are a bunch of 14 year teens stuck in there parents basements looking at porn and telling each other how “leet” they are because they are using OSS,come on man this could have been handled with an attitude that you have some kind of education and maturity.
    But for what its worth,the replys that deal with you doing more harm than good because of your reply,seem to be more intellgently worded than the ones that are in favor of your reply.Think on it people and reread if you need to,did all manners gfo out the window when you started using OSS? Sounds like it.

  332. I think this is the lowest you can go! It’s clear that you, sir, are not qualified to represent OSS community anymore. I will strongly suggest you get some professional help – from a good psychiatrists. A man with a gun and such an pervert egocentric psyche is dangerous, I hope you don’t harm people around you. What a pity, you could really do good in representing the community.

  333. Just a note to say that you (still) rule.

    This note brought to you from a windows laptop running internet explorer on microsoft windows xp professional edition. Let’s see how much windows search traffic we can bring to the blog by saying things like windows xp over and over, with a subtle hint that maybe some people still run Windows NT 4.1.1. Who knows, maybe someday windows CE won’t exist anymore. I like the xbox.

    XBOX to XBOX 360 conversion mod:
    Step 1: Take your existing xbox and slather it in “I can’t believe it’s not butter”
    Step 2: Go to your local bowling alley and pick a lane far away from everyone else (make sure to bring your xbox with you)
    Step 3: Go for the gold! If you can knock down more than 2 pins, i’ll be shocked, but the good news is that when your xbox enters the ball return, the ball return belt will attempt to spin the xbox very fast, thereby potentially causing your xbox to flip end to end – otherwise known as a 360.
    Step 4: Now that you and your NEW XBOX 360 have been kicked out of the bowling alley, take it home, plug it in, and enjoy your awesome new graphics experience. Oh yeah, and make sure to wipe off the butter substitute.

    Man, I should really start a wiki for this mod.

  334. The situation is funny as hell and some parts of you letter are ammusing other were insightfull. The success of OSS will not be dictated by programming excellence. OSS will endure on leadership and I hope the ideal outlives your self appointed mediocre leadership.

  335. That was a really good reply. Im sure this recruiter at Microsoft got your name from the voice mail system and had no idea who he was calling. Its common for recruiters to go into the voicemail get names and call people and say they were reffered by a contact.

  336. As Treebeard said (upon finding the torn-down forest of Isengard), “There is no curse in Elvish, Entish, or the tongues of men for this treachery.”

    I particularly enjoyed imagining Mr. Walter’s mental predicament and feelings of chump-a-fic-a-tion whilst reading your gem of a reply.

    Microsoft’s Tower will fall.

    This User thanks you,
    -J

  337. What the hell is this ??? You are ,according to Microsoft, just a stupid Basterd who hates Microsoft and means nothing to them at all ..

  338. Quoted from Roshan Kulkarni :
    “Finally, I leave you with a thought…. My mom still prefers Windows XP for her work. She has the creeps for the linux desktops. So, why don’t you better spend your time working on these issues, instead of your favourite MS-bashing-obession…”

    ‘Buddy, my only advice to you is to ask your mom to take up a free Linux tutorials course at http://www.linux.org. Will do her good in the long run . Trust me…’

    Whether the mail came from some innocent man doing his job or not is the issue. That was a straightforward reply by ESR. All those Wanking Do-Gooders and MS CREEPS can go to bed with MICROSOFT.

  339. Folks, folks, folks… There was once a wise man who said ‘A moral man would never preach about immorality’.A moral man is a Chicken-Hearted man’. So all those people who comment about the moral approach or justify about this whole Microsoft thing are the most immoral wrecks. This man called ESR has put up a website and taken the effort in making this knowledge available to you folks if you care to use it. I don’t know about MS ever doing something like that. About ESR’s inflated EGO and all that crap, i say that why should’nt such a man not be egoistic. He has every right to be proud of his skills. I’m not bothered about open source or MS. All i’m saying is that stop kissing
    MS’s ass and start living for a change. From my own personal experience MS has been, and i mean it ,A real Pain In The Ass, software. If you people like to cling and clutch at MS’s crutches thrown at you do so by all means. A word of notice. Stop being chicken-hearted for a change and start using Linux,if you
    have the fucking courage. Otherwise don’t talk.

  340. Just my two cents:

    a ) I first had a really good laugh
    b ) I love free software, and I don’t like M$ (or some aspects of it)
    c ) But after all, I hate such a rude behaviour

    Yes, it was a laugh, really. And yes, my first thought of a reaction would have been quite similiar. BUT I then would have activated my brain and thought, that this is not the picture I want others to have of me, nor of my friends.

    Concerning M$, I don’t think their products are good concerning security and stability, availability BUT they’re quite nice to use from a usability point of view. That the same is valid for servers is more of a problem, because some don’t get the importance of having a good background BEFORE implementing a server, but that’s not of my business. I have no problem that M$ makes money.

    What I strongly DISLIKE is that they (quite successfully) try to avoid interopability. But OK, that’s their decision and IMHO the reason why they will fail earlier or later.

    Although I’m not nearly as important to the community as you (in fact not even a grain of sand), and although I myself am also a kind of geek (more the sysadmin type), and although I have a slight socialist touch and don’t like financial overweights, I dare say that my respect of you has quite decreased, after the laughter was over.

    I dare say to you – grow up (even if I’m probably 20 yrs younger).

    If I was offered a Job at MS, I’d take it gratefully, trying to change the little bit that is possible from inside (but as mentionned before, I’m not nearly important enough, so you don’t need to pass my id to Microsoft.

    And on the subject of you being a visionist of OSS, sad, that we don’t have riper visions.

    I don’t want to offend you really, ESR (though you’ll probably never read that), but for me it’s important to show here, that some of the community do also have some manners, not only a rude humor.

    Respectfully
    Nathanael

  341. BILL GATES NEEDS TO READ THIS !

    I have 19+ years of experience in Recruiting I am very Sr. Some projects were Global strategies building diversified teams of Engineers throughout the world. My resume was sent to MS over 2 months ago through an internal referral stating they are having a hard time finding good Recruiters. I have over 25 references from Mangers, Directors and VP’s. A month + went by and no follow up on my resume from their internal Recruiters. Finally, a call came. I was to have a phone interview in a week. That person liked me on the phone. I was to have another phone screen “the next day” which ended up NOT happening for another week. This makes MS Recruiting process 2.5 months long so far for 2 phone screens. Then I was made an offer to come on board as a ‘sourcer’ (entry level not even Recruiting) all over the phone and no personal interview (I offered to fly there on my own dime). Well I waited so long to get into MS I thought what the heck. I was contacted again stating it would be another month before they would have me start. This brings it to 3.5 months from my initial contact. ADDITIONALLY I WAS ADVISED, I would have NO tools (access to recruiting system or job boards for sourcing resumes, or posting capabilities on job boards). I will have NO access to systems and would be receiving absolutely NO training and would be working remotely. I am to ONLY source using the users groups. They will ship me a lap top though. AND, if in the first 30 days I don’t make 4 hires “I will be cut loose.” TALK ABOUT BEING SET UP TO FAIL ! Other companies give you all the tools and I can make about 10 hires a month. I offered to fly there and put myself up in a hotel at my own expense to attend their on site training. It was declined. Since the initial MS offer I gave notice and cancelled other interviews. I was previously so excited to get an offer from MS after waiting forever to get it. However, they have taken a career that I love and turned it into a joke. How can I get 4 hires in a month when it took the internal Recruiting Consultants 2.5 months to hire me with a 1 month wait to start. 20 thousand Recruiters are looking for .NET candidates in User’s Groups. I have lost my interest in MS and have decided while I’m waiting for this month to start I will continue with interviewing for a NEW RECRUITING CONTRACT with a company that appreciates people more and does not set them up to fail. I love my career so much. I enjoy working for the best so to take care of people in offering them good companies to work for. I cannot honestly sell MS as a great place to work. I guess when your worth 44 billion dollars the little people who helped you get there are just stucky. I was willing to take a pay cut, willing to work in an entry level position. But I am not willing to sell a company to good people that I don’t believe in. Bill, just hire Sr. Recruiters to work with the Managers. You cant source good resumes without Manager contact and NO tools. You don’t need to funnel a project with multiple levels ! Disperse it. If you don’t believe in allowing your employees to use all the technology you created, that makes you a hypocrite.

  342. I found this page entirely by accident and don’t have a clue who any of you guys are, but come on,

    “But I must thank you for dropping a good joke on my afternoon. On that hopefully not too far distant day that I piss on Microsoft’s grave, I sincerely hope none of it will splash on you. Cordially yours, Eric S. Raymond”

    is hilarious. I can’t stop chuckling. How much more polite could he be? He apologised in advance for any inadvertant slip. It might be a low form but if you can’t find the humour perhaps it’s time to go out and smell some roses.

    Dear Mr. Raymond,
    I thank you for a delightfull few minutes. Although some of you’re collegues seem rather stuck in the mud, for my part it has been thourouly enjoyable. I thought you’re admittedly juvenile comments were right on target. An appropriate response to an inappropriate offer. On that hopefully not too far distant day that you see some of these gems attached to the handle “justsomeguy”, I sincerely hope none of it will splash on you.

    Sent with great good will,
    Bob

  343. Dracor said:
    a ) I first had a really good laugh
    b ) I love free software, and I don’t like M$ (or some aspects of it)
    c ) But after all, I hate such a rude behaviour

    And I agree. I found it funny, heck I’d have posted something equally vitriolic probably, but I sure wouldn’t have wanted it to be visible to everyone later.

  344. I am the founder of Translucent Consulting located at http://www.translucentconsulting.com and I am in the process of converting our product to open source technologies. I have been in the industry for over 10+ years and started development on a 486. I was recently offered a position at Microsoft for their product development teams for either the internationalization of MSN Messenger or for windows live at live.com, at my choice. They got my information from a consulting firms contact list. Their offer was interesting until I laughed out loud. Here was their offer:

    100K / year (starting)
    1000 Shares @ ~28.00 = 28,000 sign on bonus
    Pay for my closing on my house in Houston
    Pay for the closing on a newly purchased house in Redmond
    Pay for moving expenses to Redmond
    Give me 3 months corp. housing
    Insurance 100% = no co pay
    etc.

    I thought about this for about 2.8 milliseconds and then laughed to my self. I thought a company like Microsoft, with the money they make off their products would pay a premium salary for someone in their product group. I have been involved in fortune 500 company development projects my entire career and thought to myself “I can get that in Houston”.

    To top it off I went online to look at real-estate costs in Redmond (to get kick out of the whole thing). The cost of living there is 30% more than in Houston. So simple math made me laugh even harder…

    100,000.00 + 28,000 = 128,000
    128,000 * 0.7 = 89,000.00 the first year

    100,000 * 0.7 = 70,000.00 each year after that

    All in all I was very surprised that the software giant cannot pay the people who make the products they live on average rates. In Houston a senior software architect can gross about 120K from a strait salaried position. You will need to look around but this is realistic.

    I never contacted them about the position and now all I hear is Windows Live on TV, Internet etc. and I think to myself that these poor souls that work for Microsoft’s product teams are being ripped.

    After this I went to MSN.com (thought it would be the right place to go) and looked at the insider trading for Microsoft (all public companies must disclose the executive trading) and looked at William Gate the III (for those who do not know that is Bill Gates) and saw his daily trades for diversifying his portfolio was any where from 1 million to 30 million. This is the guy who cannot pay premium rates to the development teams that make him his money.

    Just a little food for though. Also here is part of the signature on the email.

    Are you passionate about Web applications? Do you want to help establish and deliver the platform for enabling incredible online experiences across MSN? Do you want to influence the engineering direction across MSN?

    We are establishing a small team to focus on defining and implementing the browser-based architecture for MSN’s next generation user experience. We need strong developers to define, implement, and communicate solid browser-based design patterns, architectures, and implementations for enabling interactive, fast, and consistent web experiences across MSN.

    Sounds like an important job but Microsoft must not think so or they would pay the piper and not below average.

  345. After viewing all the posts here a quick observation: Everyone here recognizes Microsoft as the Leading Software supplier to the Personal Computer Marketplace. And the opening statements from recipient of the Microsoft Recruitment Letter has passion for open source but lacks the voice or the tools to accomplish anything measurable (user base, bibs, bog etc) lots of hot air..

    You can’t just want to COMPETE with Microsoft, Red Hat, Oracle, EMC etc you have to take planned action and produce a competitive product i.e. Google’s innovative approach to search engines has caused Microsoft, Yahoo etc to re-develop their products.

    Until you create a product or solution for Personal Computer Users that you can evangelize than you’re simply just a want Abe with nothing noteworthy to say. At least nothing that 1000 other IT workers (microserfs) haven’t said already

  346. I knew microsoft was dominating the market and creating software which can best be described as “garbage”,
    however, I have never heard about microsoft sending this kind of mails to the founder of a movement trying to resist against the power of microsoft.
    I mean;
    how stupid can you be in these days??

  347. Whoa Eric baby, you’ve come such a long way!

    From acclaimed leader of the ever so important i-ll-do-some-coding-later faction of the Open Source community, to lucky recipient of a template interview letter from a _mere_ 6 levels deep down Microsoft’s subcontracting chain!

    A few more years and you might still make it to a prestigious call-center position in India! Who knows!

  348. I’m not a big proponent of MS and they aren’t my first choice of SW by any means. However, it seems just plain silly to me to waste time responding with such sarcasm peppered with vitriol to what seems clearly to have been a form letter. Do you write to Walmart and the grocery store down the street when they send out a flier to your mail box, or the local roofing company which bought your name form a list, perhaps as did MS?

    Which reminds, me- I’ve lost too much of my time on this post!

  349. I am the founder of Translucent Consulting located at http://www.translucentconsulting.com and I am in the process of converting our product to open source technologies. I have been in the industry for over 10+ years and started development on a 486. I was recently offered a position at Microsoft for their product development teams for either the internationalization of MSN Messenger or for windows live at live.com, at my choice. They got my information from a consulting firms contact list. Their offer was interesting until I laughed out loud. Here was their offer:

    100K / year (starting)
    1000 Shares @ ~28.00 = 28,000 sign on bonus
    Pay for my closing on my house in Houston
    Pay for the closing on a newly purchased house in Redmond
    Pay for moving expenses to Redmond
    Give me 3 months corp. housing
    Insurance 100% = no co pay
    etc.

    I thought about this for about 2.8 milliseconds and then laughed to my self. I thought a company like Microsoft, with the money they make off their products would pay a premium salary for someone in their product group. I have been involved in fortune 500 company development projects my entire career and thought to myself “I can get that in Houston”.

    To top it off I went online to look at real-estate costs in Redmond (to get kick out of the whole thing). The cost of living there is 30% more than in Houston. So simple math made me laugh even harder…

    100,000.00 + 28,000 = 128,000
    128,000 * 0.7 = 89,000.00 the first year

    100,000 * 0.7 = 70,000.00 each year after that

    All in all I was very surprised that the software giant cannot pay the people who make the products they live on average rates. In Houston a senior software architect can gross about 120K from a strait salaried position. You will need to look around but this is realistic.

    I never contacted them about the position and now all I hear is Windows Live on TV, Internet etc. and I think to myself that these poor souls that work for Microsoft’s product teams are being ripped.

    After this I went to MSN.com (thought it would be the right place to go) and looked at the insider trading for Microsoft (all public companies must disclose the executive trading) and looked at William Gate the III (for those who do not know that is Bill Gates) and saw his daily trades for diversifying his portfolio was any where from 1 million to 30 million. This is the guy who cannot pay premium rates to the development teams that make him his money.

    Just a little food for though. Also here is part of the signature on the email.

    Are you passionate about Web applications? Do you want to help establish and deliver the platform for enabling incredible online experiences across MSN? Do you want to influence the engineering direction across MSN?

    We are establishing a small team to focus on defining and implementing the browser-based architecture for MSN’s next generation user experience. We need strong developers to define, implement, and communicate solid browser-based design patterns, architectures, and implementations for enabling interactive, fast, and consistent web experiences across MSN.

    Sounds like an important job but Microsoft must not think so or they would pay the piper and not below average.

  350. Ohh – you’re such a stud for standing up to MS. What a man – your wife must really think you’re something; and your massive digital dick must be a sight to behold.

  351. Hallo Eric,
    Tkanks for the amusement.
    I am “nobody of a system manager” working in a company “as small as nowhere”. Nevertheless I had something of an “envy feeling” at you. I am pretty certain that nobody will ever offer me such a job. To be true, nobody will offer any job to me. Anyway, Well done guy. Keep on being their worst nightmare. They undoubtedly deserve it.

    Best regards.

  352. "The reluctance to put away childish things may be a requirement of genius". -Rebecca Pepper Sinkler

  353. Eric, I know this was ages and ages ago, but I wanted to add how much I loved your email response “way back yonder”. Now that we’re almost fully two whole OS releases on from the time of this incident, with hindsight I think we can safely say a leopard never changes its spots, and even now that Bill Gates has left Microsoft and put UsedCarSalesmanSteve Ballmer in charge, Microsoft is still Microsoft.

    I liked the prior poster who pointed out you missed two sterling opportunities: asking when they’ll open the .DOC standard (even as .DOCX it’s still a deliberate attempt to corrupt open document standards) and when they’ll port IE to Linux.

    To those who were quick to attack Eric for how he responded, two things. First, learn to write proper English before posting to an English-language public forum. Second, you obviously didn’t pay attention to the bit in Eric’s article where he mentions specifically he talked to the guy and was nice and polite and professional. The written response was *obviously* for the benefit of a laugh by whoever’s hands the email would pass once it reached Microsoft.

    Keep going, Eric.

    MikeTheC
    S.W. Florida

  354. Oh my God!! What an amazing dude you are!! Responding to an email obviously sent by a clueless vendor at MS. Its because of people like you that microsoft will live on forever dude! Grow up, you’re not gonna take over anything or any market by being such an immature, petty person. And I don’t really understand your hatred towards MS anyway, they do their thing, you do your thing. Last I checked the USA was still a free country!!

  355. Hey Eric, Time to grow up pal. You achieve nothing and all the crap you say about open source getting noticed because of you is shit. Cause it was on its way before you were in Liquid state Get my point. Stop fighting but show your skills in coding not just braying like a donkey. Then and only then will the work respect you. Currently you sound like a piece of white trash.

  356. Hello Eric,

    I know MS and I am sure everyone who is well aware of technology must have heard of Bill Gates. He is indeed intelligent and so are you. Hats off to him for running Microsoft successfully so for long. Pretty corporate and avid business technically. The work done by you is what real educator does. People like you share knowledge and let everyone to use it for free. You are right…contributors including Richard Stallman and Linus Torvalds who have dedicated their life for free technology, are and will always be a nightmare for the ones who want to monopolies software industry. You will always be respected by think alike who understand the meaning and importance of open source.

    May you achieve your dreams..
    Priyank

  357. Microsoft are a COMPANY. Companies make products that people can buy if they choose to. What exactly is the problem with that?

    Why dont we just get rid of all the paying software development jobs and give EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF SOFTWARE away for free. Then all of us programmers can earn $0 from a skill we spent years/decades learning. What a brilliant idea. While the mechanical engineers, scientist, pilots, guys flipping burgers at McDonalds, etc… earn money from applying their skills we software developers should just give away our time and skills for free like some sort absolute spastics.

    Like why should we make any cash off our work, wouldnt it be much better if all software was free so the suits in management and in the boardroom could take advantage of our skills and labour for free and have an extra few million in their pockets.

  358. Pingback: Hire your enemies | Dedwarmo

  359. I love it… I have had similar responses to Microsoft :) It would be a sad day when you went to Microsoft.

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