Yahoo! continues to augment its open-source credentials, most recently by announcing that it has become a platinum sponsor of the Apache Software Foundation. Yahoo!, along with the other web companies, has reaped massive rewards from adopting open-source technology like Apache. This is an effort to give a little back.
An open question, however, is what Yahoo! expects to get back from its financial commitment....
Yahoo!'s support of the ASF stemmed from its work with the Apache HTTP Server and Lucene projects. Today, several members of Yahoo!'s development teams are active, long-term code contributors to Apache Hadoop, the open source platform that makes it possible to efficiently process vast amounts of data on a cluster of commodity hardware.
Leading the industry in supporting free and open software for building the next-generation of Internet-scale web services, Yahoo! is contributing to an open source version of these powerful tools which are freely available to anyone who needs them. In addition, Yahoo! is committed to advancing the state-of-the-art in distributed computing through the incubation of new Apache projects.
All of which is great. But I think Apache would most benefit from Yahoo! abiding by open-source licenses the way everyone else does; namely, abiding by reciprocity clauses. It doesn't have to, of course: since it doesn't distribute software it gets carte blanche to use open source without replenishing that source.
[Yahoo! has] been a huge open source beneficiary and hope our support of Apache will continue to improve the quality and expand the usage of critical software that will propel the entire industry.
Yes and yes. The easiest way to truly benefit Apache, however, is to contribute more code back to the projects. It's doing this with Hadoop and with others. But always on Yahoo!'s terms, not the code's license terms. I applaud Yahoo!'s move to support the ASF with this generous financial commitment. I will applaud even louder when more code finds its way back to Apache, code commensurate to the degree of benefit Yahoo! has derived from Apache over the years.
More commentary at Slashdot.