Why I’m excited about Yahoo!

by Sam Ramji on February 25, 2008 12:31pm

There are no guarantees that a future of Microsoft + Yahoo! will arrive, but the possibilities have me feeling positive. These are just my personal opinions – and who knows what will happen – but a few things described below give me optimism for an increasingly high-performance, multi-platform, PHP-infused and developer-driven future.

Here are a few reasons why I’m excited.

Yahoo! is famous for its culture of openness.  Outstanding technologies like Hadoop have been developed and contributed to the community, and the fundamental concepts of open Internet culture at Yahoo! are core to its success.  Microsoft has made strides in the last few years in understanding and embracing open source developers, development models, and technologies – I’d say we’ve gone from 1 to 100 and are still going.  Yahoo!  would speed our progress from 100 to 1,000.

One important reason?  Technical leaders like Rasmus Lerdorf, Doug Cutting, and many others….

Those who read Port25 often know that we are at the heart of the shift at Microsoft to embrace PHP on Windows.  My team has had the privilege to work with Andi Gutmans and Zeev Suraski and their engineering team.  Just through this collaboration with community developers and our partners at Zend, Microsoft engineers and product teams learned a lot.

We have also learned a great deal from Jim Hugunin (Jython and Iron Python architect) and come a long way in our openness to new languages and community development.  John Lam has shown us the light on Ruby.  I think we are at a point in time where we could thrill developers with Rasmus’ leadership on PHP.   Having the inventor of PHP in the same company with the language runtime performance wizards in the Developer Division under Scott Guthrie, makes my mind boggle.

Similarly, a major focus at Microsoft is understanding the developer – and those of you who have been watching have seen the shift from strictly “let’s show PHP developers that ASP.NET is cool” to “and let’s show PHP developers that we understand that PHP is cool”, a result of learning from day-to-day work with PHP developers.  The sheer mass of PHP-focused voices that this combination would bring would make PHP absolutely fundamental to the company.  Many of these developers are actively contributing to code beyond the core Yahoo! web platform and are leaders in their own right.

And, finally, we’ve taken a great leap forward in Windows/Linux Interoperability in both virtualization (SuSE Linux on Hyper-V) and protocols (identity, management, file systems, networking), with major customer, partner, and engineering commitments.   I have no access to information on Yahoo!’s server farms, but I expect Microsoft + Yahoo would accelerate our capabilities in Windows/ Linux interoperability significantly as well.   The modern datacenter is a heterogeneous environment, and I have heard over and over again from customers the value they place on our recognition and technical competency supporting that real-world heterogeneity.

The world is different today than it was 10 years ago, and so are we.  Here on the Redmond campus, MacBook Pros aren’t unheard of, and people with knowledge of Linux are in demand.  Some of those MacBooks are running Vista, administrators are running PHP and ASP.NET on the same machine, and we’re seeing adoption of open source in and on top of a range of Microsoft technologies. As the world has changed, so has Microsoft, to the benefit of the company and our customers.  This would be an exciting next step—here’s hoping!  

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