The fate of Yahoo
Yahoo is a major FreeBSD user with a long history. Will that change if they’re bought out by Microsoft or sold off in pieces to likes of Google or AOL-Time Warner? Would a merger in any way materially impact The FreeBSD Project?
Yahoo’s corporate usage of FreeBSD has proudly represented the stability, power and security of the open source operating system. Unfortunately all of the potential companies that are interested in Yahoo aren’t avid FreeBSD users. The technology would be incompatible and the buyer’s implementation would likely be favored for all of Yahoo’s services. It’s worth noting that there have also been murmurs of Yahoo moving away from FreeBSD in the past.
Google has been offering to “partner” with Yahoo. Partnering really means Google would be handling the advertising and potentially search engine functionality for Yahoo.
AOL’s former executive and AOL-Time Warner have made noise about a potential merger or partnership. This is probably the least feasible of the bids, but it is another example of a large corporate entity that would shift Yahoo’s determination away from FreeBSD.
Expect the deal to start taking shape soon. If it is approved by the DoJ it will take place over the course of several years. Massive layoffs at Yahoo would be forced and a lot of their technology would be moved over to whoever ends up owning Yahoo. I for one hope this isn’t the case because diversity in searching and Internet information aggregation should be increased, not reduced. Obviously there could be a detrimental impact on FreeBSD’s visibility as well.
The big picture
No matter what happens with Yahoo, FreeBSD’s future remains bright. Just recently I have been successful in finding receptive clients through my consulting endeavors with Envescent. They are willing and even excited to run FreeBSD for their back office operations. We are seeing first hand that the private sector is growing more amenable to open source solutions and Microsoft’s dominance in small business IT is fading.