Jan 31 2010

Yahoo and Ubuntu: An Odd Couple

A peculiar announcement came from Ubuntu’s development staff earlier this week.  On Tuesday, Rick Spencer of Canonical posted that it planned on making several minor and ultimately cosmetic changes to Firefox on Ubuntu’s next release.  The first is relatively benign, making the default Firefox homepage be the selected default search engine for Firefox’s search bar. However, the interesting part is that the new default search engine for Ubuntu will no longer be Google, but instead Yahoo!. This also effectively makes Yahoo! the new default home page.

So what’s Canonical’s explanation for this sudden and strange shift? It seems to be that the company has established a new revenue sharing deal with Yahoo! in order to help fund the Ubuntu project.  However, this will undoubtedly be unsavory to much of the original Ubuntu base for a number of reasons.

First of all, it arguably shows  that Canonical is caving into corporatism and losing the puritanical openness it’s known for.  Secondly, Yahoo! is now powered by Bing, which means this effectively becomes a revenue sharing deal between Canonical and Microsoft.

Google already has two distributions of Linux (albeit each is far from traditional distros) in the works –  Android and Chrome OS – and Microsoft has ownership over one of the most major players of Linux, Novell’s SUSE.  Whether or not Microsoft has some sort of interest in Ubuntu is unsure at best, and is probably unlikely.  However one thing is evident: major corporations will play a role in shaping Linux and open-source’s fate, regardless of what its users and adherents would wish.

Via Canonical Development Boards, image via Yahoo!.

5 Comments on this post


  1. Linux Foundation Chief Admits Linux Lacks Apple iPad “Magic” | NetbookBoards.com wrote:

    […] Zemlin, the Linux Foundation’s executive director, identified the inhibiting factor to mobile Linux’s growth on his blog last week, in response to the iPad’s launch.  It was not a specific […]

    February 2nd, 2010 at 1:59 am
  2. Ubuntu Axes OpenOffice From Netbook Edition 10.04 « The Best Netbook wrote:

    […] Now, while the premise and case for Web 3.0 and Cloud Computing seems strong, Google Docs has oft been criticized as an incomplete suite, with limited functionality at best. It does not have the same richness which makes OpenOffice at least comparable to Microsoft Office. Also, this decision comes in stark contrast to Canonical’s move to ditch Google as the primary search engine for Firefox. […]

    February 8th, 2010 at 8:53 pm
  3. HTML 5’s Champion: Ogg Theora vs. H.264 | NetbookBoards.com wrote:

    […] during class when we should be paying attention to a lecture.  But sometime around the release of Firefox 3.5, we all remembered another up and coming technology, HTML 5. HTML 5 was supposed to provide […]

    March 5th, 2010 at 8:12 pm
  4. Ubuntu 10.04 Beta 1 wrote:

    […] plays a much more dominate role now, providing the micro-blogging interface. Firefox now has Yahoo! as its primary search engine and homepage, GIMP has been dropped, but Pitivi, a simple video-editor, has been added.  Also, the […]

    December 22nd, 2010 at 6:31 am
  1. FewClues said:

    One would have thought that Cononical would have seen what happened to SuSE after they got into bed with Microsoft. I have been an advocate for UBUNTU since 4.04 but will now become a Fedora fan.

    Yes I know that I could simply change the search engine default back to Google, but it the principle that is in play here and dumping UBUNTU is the ONLY vote I will have in this matter.

    February 1st, 2010 at 11:05 am


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