Virgin poster here, got squished by HN with this one. :–/
This statement is true for extremely small values of ‘hiring’
Really, it is more like Gittip is recruiting volunteers in a somewhat more discriminating fashion than an open source project.
I like Gittip, and use it to tip a few people, but “hiring” has a lot of connotations, especially for people with dependent mouths to feed, which is what I think led to the hostility on HN and twitter.
Indeed, “hire” has a specific definition: to employ for wages. Big difference from volunteering in return for a listing on the about page.
English has homonyms. We also consider certain kinds of unwaged labour to be ‘hired’, at least colloquially. People paid solely in shares, dividends, or residuals, or people not paid at all (such as some apprenticeships and internships) can be considered ‘hired’. So, for an ‘open company’ it makes sense that ‘hiring’ means becoming a part of the core of the company, but does not mean being paid by the company.
Also, as an aside, there are other similar movements, like Venture Communism, which uniformly use the word ‘hire’ to mean something other than ‘to employ for wages’. So it is not as if this usage is uncommon or in some sense incorrect.