Get off my lawn.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Who is Eric S. Raymond?

Eric S. Raymond (ESR) is a well-known entity in the Open Source community. I've heard his name mentioned in various places (mostly in random Slashdot postings), and was aware of his magnum opus, The Cathedral and the Bazaar. But, I never really looked into his story until today. He apparently got a letter from a recruiter trolling for talent on behalf of Microsoft. The event was posted as a story on Slashdot about him getting an actual job offer from Microsoft.

The idea of Eric S. Raymond getting a job offer from Microsoft is a little like Jimmy Swaggart being offered a position in the Church of satan, which is to say "ironic". But, this is apparently not what happened anyway. He just happened to get a random letter from a Microsoft recruiter, who recognized him as "someone well-known in the computer world". (Microsoft and Google are in kind of a race to hire people: Google hires the smart ones, Microsoft hires anyone who a) has a buzz associated with their name, and b) will actually consider boarding the Death Star and working for the Evil Empire).

Anyway, I was curious about what this guy has actually done for the Open Source community (and cause), and went to his site and read some of what he had to say. Now I know who Eric S. Raymond is: He's a rather homely fellow with a towering ego, who likes guns, Tae Kwon Do, and talking about himself.

I'm actually not sure what to think. He'd most likely be kind of annoying to talk to, but he seems to have that ability to aggrandize himself and promote his cause without actually building anything tangible. This is an ability I don't understand or have, but I can respect it (mostly because I can't seem to figure out how to do it).


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