Tom Hanrahan has taken leave of the Linux Foundation to further Linux interoperability at Microsoft, according to Channel Register.
As director of Linux interoperability, he will be responsible for "marrying up" Windows and Novell's SuSE Linux, the story says. Commenting on the hire, Microsoft's director of platform technology strategy says Hanrahan will teach folks in Redmond about developing "in the open."
One of the Linux Foundation's stated missions is to provide protection from and education on the legal issues facing Linux -- and to counter public relations moves from proprietary companies. Most recently, of course, the foundation came out swinging after Microsoft claimed Linux and other open source programs violated its patents. (Take executive director Jim Zemlin's BusinessWeek editorial, or even his interview with IT Business Edge, for example.)
Even though the timing of the hire (or the timing of the announcement of the hire) might be coincidence, Microsoft's decision to pluck Hanrahan from the Linux Foundation's ranks most likely is not. In part, at least, it looks like an effort to improve Microsoft's image in the open source world by hiring directly from that world.
I'm not sure it will do much good. In fact, some of the open source faithful may turn on Hanrahan -- for "going over to the dark side."