Sunday, March 16, 2008

Yahoo's Zawodny: We're Open, Too!

I've met Jeremy Zawodny, although I don't know him. From what I have gathered, he and a bunch of people at Yahoo are doing some great work on the Open Source side of the house. In a blog post, Jeremy talks about how Yahoo! has "been on the openness road for a long, long time." The focus of his post was in response to an absurd Mary Jo Foley post about Yahoo's openness being a poison pill for MSFT. Matt Asay also picked up on this and gives Yahoo well-deserved kudos for their efforts. But I couldn't help but notice this little nugget from Jeremy:

Some times it hasn't been as visible as others, but believe me, the trend is quite clear when you look at all the data.

Er, not as visible as what others? Well, we know the answer to that one. You would think that with this admission that Yahoo's efforts lack the same visibility as Google, that the higher-ups might, you know, take notice and learn from the success of others. I know Jeremy has promised more openness, and I look forward to it, but something tells me that they lack Google's knack for maximizing the exposure of their Open Source contributions. It's one thing to make real Open Source contributions and give your community value. It's quite another to make those contributions *and* get real value in return. When it comes to reaping benefits from Open Source efforts, no one comes close to Google.

But Yahoo's not the only one who fails to understand this. I continue to be amazed at those companies who insist on repeating mistakes from the past and refuse to learn from successes and failures. Google has already shown how a major technology company can use Open Source to its advantage. "Tier 1" tech companies should be lambasted by shareholders for not following a winning example.

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