Gentoo Linux founder quits Microsoft

After working for Linux's rival for less than a year, Daniel Robbins has quit his job, complaining that he was unable to work at his 'full level of technical ability'

Daniel Robbins, the founder and former chief architect of the Gentoo Linux project, has quit his job at Microsoft after only eight months, the software giant confirmed on Monday.

Last May, Robbins made the unusual switch from being a well-known member of the free software community to becoming a paid employee of Microsoft, which is one of free and open source software's biggest critics. He worked under Bill Hilf, who runs Microsoft's Linux and Open Source Software Lab, and had an "educational" role within the company.

Robbins told ZDNet UK in an email on Monday that he decided to leave because he was not able to use all his technical skills in his role.

"I didn't make the decision to leave Microsoft due to concerns about the company as a whole — Microsoft has just had a string of very successful product launches and I anticipate that it will continue to enjoy great success," he said.

"The reason I decided to leave had to do with my specific experiences working in Microsoft's Linux Lab. Although I believe that the concept behind Microsoft's Linux Lab is a good one, I wasn't able to work at my full level of technical ability and I found this frustrating," he said.

Robbins has accepted a job as the chief technical officer of ABC Coding Solutions, a company based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, that provides information products and consulting services within the health industry.

Bill Hilf, the director of technical platform strategy at Microsoft, said that the company wishes Robbins well in his new role.

"Yes, Daniel Robbins has decided to leave Microsoft to pursue his passion for software development with an independent software vendor where he will be focused on building in .NET on Windows. This move also takes Daniel and his family back to their hometown community of Albuquerque, New Mexico. We thank Daniel for his contribution to Microsoft and wish him the best of luck on his new job," said Hilf.

Chris Gianelloni, the release engineering lead at the Gentoo project, was reluctant to comment on Robbins' latest career move, but said that it would not impact the project: "While Daniel was a strong proponent of Gentoo back in his heyday, he's been away from us long enough for his actions to not impact us in any way."

Robbins' last day at Microsoft was 16 January, 2006.