I once took Jeremy Zawodny, technical director at Yahoo!, to task for not contributing enough back to open source. Today, Zawodny made it clear that openness and open source are in Yahoo!'s DNA. It is a trend that started long ago, Zawodny writes, and will only accelerate over time:
We've been on the openness road for a long, long time at Yahoo. And we take it rather seriously. 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. The Open Source adoption and work. The APIs. The way we communicate with users and partners. The Blogs. The RSS feeds....
You'll be reading more and hearing more about openness at Yahoo! from me and Yahoo's much higher up the food chain in the coming months....If you think the last few weeks are big, you haven't seen anything yet!
A year ago, I wouldn't have believed Zawodny. As you might have sensed over the past few months, however, my views on Yahoo! and open source have changed as I've watched the company get behind Zimbra, Hadoop, etc. Open source can be a real differentiator for Yahoo! - something it can leverage against Google and for its users.
Google hasn't been standing still, either. In fact, between the two it has been gratifying to see how much more willing the two seem to be to contribute to open source on its terms, not theirs. Hopefully other web companies will follow suit.