I was at eric's talk and I helped (somewhat) set it up.
Eric came and spoke to a crowd of microsoft folks. He spoke
as part of a continuing "MS research lecture series" which happens
at least once a month from my view.
Basically, eric was given the floor to give say whatever he wanted.
The room was packed, people sitting on the floor. In addition to
people in the room, the talk was on corporate netshow (as all are)
and there were many remote viewers. He gave
more or less, his standard "open source" advocacy speech.
(Ive seen him speak before)
Basically, he talked about engineering culture, which is described
in his first two papers, and then proceeded to try and make a case
for open source business models. Its an interesting talk, you
should actually go and see it if you havent.
While I enjoyed his engineering culture stuff, I, and most
others IMHO, were unconvinced of the OSS business models he was
As for his motivations, I've met eric a few times and I like him.
If you haven't or at least heard him speak in person, then I
recommend you give him some slack.
The short motive, I would guess,is that eric gave his speech in hopes of
us of the validity of the OSS business model.
That seems like a perfectly admirable intention to me.
From: Gavin Thomas Nicol [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, June 30, 1999 1:00 AM
Subject: RE: Into the Belly of the Beast (ESR at MS)
> ESR ain't my favorite guy, either, but why do you feel it is
> "prostitution" for him to simply go and *talk* to some Microsoft
> folks? I've done the same just to get another point of view, without
> even a dinner with Neal Stephenson to show for it...
I doubt his motiviations were purely to talk to folk...