Writing on OStatic, Reuven Lerner (whose writing I've read in various places over the years) appears to be hitting the crack pipe in explaining how he wonders if Microsoft buying Yahoo would lead to Yahoo ditching open source projects.
That's what I thought. Here's what he says
Back when Microsoft announced its intention to buy Yahoo, many of us wondered whether Yahoo would be forced to get rid of its open-source projects in the wake of such a purchase. But after reading the press releases put out by Yahoo, in which they seem to indicate that they're aiming not only to survive, but to become a stronger and more profitable company, I have to wonder whether this might force Yahoo to give up some of its open-source projects.
While it's not at all clear who "us" is there (open source community? OStatic writers? Israeli developers?), the implication that Open Source is somehow more expensive could use a bit of support. But let's go on and look for it.
My reasoning is as follows: Yahoo is not as profitable as it needs to be, which means that they begin to shed low-margin business units. Yahoo has already indicated its willingness to give much or all of its advertising business to Google; this presumably means that everything is on the table.
While it's undoubtedly true that open-source software has many benefits, we have yet to see an obvious indication that development (and giving away) open-source software leads to higher profits. Indeed, while we cannot pin Sun's steep decline in the last quarter solely on its embrace of open-source software, the correlation seems too strong to ignore. Which means that if Yahoo is looking to restrict itself to profitable ventures, they might stop funding some of the open-source projects they have supported until now.
Hadoop is critical to many business operations within Yahoo, including Yahoo Search. Based on what the folks from that team have said, I find it hard to believe that getting on board with Hadoop was more expensive than rolling our own (again). And lower expenses often lead to higher profits, right?
And then there's PHP, another very important piece of infrastructure at Yahoo. It replaced a dozen other half-baked languages years ago. Maintaining a single server-side scripting language is far less expensive than a dozen that all suck more than PHP.
I could go on. But let's keep reading...
He then ends the article by saying the following, which really should have been at the beginning so that people wouldn't waste time hoping for a well thought out argument.
I should note that what I'm writing is pure speculation: No one at Yahoo has even hinted that their support of such projects as YUI and Hadoop will go away. And indeed, those tools are essential to Yahoo's future, which means that we can expect them to continue to survive.
I think there's a damned good reason that nobody has hinted that way: It'd be stupid to do so.
Posted by jzawodn at May 05, 2008 04:56 PM