Yahoo: The Linux Company

Yahoo: The Linux Company

Summary: Everyone knows that Google runs on Linux, but at Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, Yahoo revealed just how much it too replies on Linux.

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San Francisco--If you know anything about big companies that run Linux, you know Google runs on Linux. Yes, every time you do a Google search you are, in one sense, a Linux user. What far fewer people know is that Yahoo is also a Linux company. Today, at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, Sven Dummer, Director of Linux engineering at Yahoo!, explained that 75% of Yahoo’s Web sites and services run on Linux. The rest? It runs on FreeBSD.

While Yahoo isn’t as big as it used to be, it still, according to Dummer, has 100,000s of servers, 640-million users, and over a 1 billion visits a months. According to Netcraft’s list of the most popular Web sites in the world, that’s still good enough to put Yahoo in as the 13th most popular Web site on the globe, or the fourth if you count all the international Google sites as one. In other words, Yahoo is still a player.

So what does Yahoo use? Well, Dummer explained, “Yahoo has its own Linux distribution, YLinux, targeted for out specific needs. It’s based on Red Hat’s Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). Yes, that’s right Yahoo is another Red Hat customer helping Red Hat become a billion dollar company.

Dummer described “Red Hat as a valuable partner.” While Yahoo does modify the code, “We try to keep Linux as pristine as possible. We take out certain packages and add a little of our own stuff.” What Yahoo tends to add is configuration, roll-out, and management tools to deal with its data-centers of servers.

Yahoo does, however, support its own supporting software package system. That’s a relic, Dummer said, of its FreeBSD ancestry. This system is used to package up new software and patches for both RHEL and FreeBSD. At the same time, Yahoo does use the RPM Package Manager (RPM, yes it’s a recursive acronym) for a lot of its internal software deployment.

At the same time, Yahoo, with Red Hat’s help, tries to keep up to the second when it comes to security and critical bug fixes in the Linux kernel. Dummer said, “When it come to security, we don’t try to go their own way.”

Dummer would like to speed up Yahoo’s adoption of newer Linux distributions though. That’s both because Yahoo has more trust in Linux and because—bottom line time—newer versions of Linux saves Yahoo money. How? By giving “Better performance for watt.”

In talking with me after his speech, Dummer told me that the newer Linux kernels are much better at power consumption and heat emission. “Red Hat 6, Dummer said, “for example uses only half the power of RHEL 4.”

That may not sound meaningful to you, but it makes hard financial sense to anyone in the data-center business. If you can cut down your electric bill both for powering up your servers and cutting your air-conditioning costs, you can make double-digit savings to your server farms’ costs.

As for Windows? Dummer simply replied, “We might have some Windows servers somewhere but none of them are on the Web or in the cloud.”

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Topics: Social Enterprise, Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems, Software

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63 comments
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  • Surely not making them the number 1 search engine

    Even Bing is doing better than Yahoo. Linux fails again.
    Mr. Dee
    • Yeah, I know right?

      @Mr. Dee

      I have it on good authority that Bing started out running on Linux, but MS changed all of that when they found out that all new distributions of Linux still leave the telnet port wide open by default!
      UrNotPayingAttention
      • RE: Yahoo: The Linux Company

        @chmod 777 No... they don't.

        Most of them have the server package available as legacy services, but not installed. And the firewall has them blocked too.

        The last 5 releases of Fedora haven't done that, an all RH releases haven't done that since somewhere around release 3.

        Third, the legacy services have Kerberos encryption capability if the admin wants it, and that can be enforced by the Kerberos configuration.

        None of the Slackware releases have had it by default either.

        And none of the other distributions I'm familiar with have them enabled either.
        jessepollard
    • Number 1 search engine

      @Mr. Dee
      If you're gonna troll so hard, at least be on topic with your own subject line. Since *you* brought it up, let's finish your thought: come on, use your words. Who is the #1 engine? Why I do believe that would be Google. All Linux; all the time.
      asmoore82
    • RE: Yahoo: The Linux Company

      @Mr. Dee

      Is Google is "failure", then failure's great.
      BanjoPaterson
    • Of all the bloggers I despise...

      Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has got to be the one who gets under my skin the most. Okay, I've got to admit that I'm not partial to any OS, and Linux is the perfect server OS, but god damn... Steve! A Google search makes me a Linux user? You may want to rethink that.

      I do use Linux and I will continue to do so, but I don't run it on my desktop, because at the end of the day there isn't a Linux distribution that meets all of my needs. MS Office is still the best in the business. Hi def videos tend to lag in Linux as opposed to Mac OS X and Windows. Multiple monitor support sucks. Generally anything to do with graphics tend to suck. Other than that Linux is awesome. Unfortunately those are some pretty important bits.

      Mac OS X is the perfect OS, because you get all of the controllability of Linux, plus the fact that so much more just works. Having said that Windows is pretty good too.
      General C#
      • RE: Yahoo: The Linux Company

        @General C# I would have to argue that Windows is the best all around desktop OS. I dual boot windows and Linux on my laptop and I own a couple Linux boxes and a Android phone. But MAC OS doesn't really give you the flexibility of Linux or the software compatibility and hardware acceleration of Windows. While it has some better graphical stuff and sometimes better support from large software vendors compared to Linux, it doesn't offer much else.
        Jimster480
      • RE: Yahoo: The Linux Company

        @General C#<br>Now who is far, far off topic? But your trolls shall be smacked-down anyway...<br><br>"Linux is the perfect server OS."<br>That's all that's relevant here. Unless Yahoo! has started manufacturing desktops behind my back. SJVN simply makes mention of other Server OS's that compete head-to-head with your favorite, Linux.<br><br>"Hi def videos tend to lag in Linux as opposed to Mac OS X and Windows."<br>That's odd. I am quite certain that the HD-DVR I built for myself is running Linux on *modest* hardware specs. Works great! With Windows Media Center, It doesn't matter how much money you waste on the hardware, Interlaced source material will *still* look like sh!t and give you a headache to watch. I use and much prefer Linux+Hardware Deinterlacing, but various software deinterlacing methods on Linux are top notch as well.<br><br>"Multiple monitor support sucks."<br>I have to use it all the time for presentations at work. ~I've never had a BSOD during a presentation, but I know for sure others have.<br><br>"Generally anything to do with graphics tend to suck." <br>Tell that to all of the Hollywood special effects companies and render farms that use it.<br><br>"Mac OS X is the perfect OS, because you get all of the controllability of Linux."<br>Sure! I hope you never need a version of java for that Mac other than what Apple ships.<br><br>"plus the fact that so much more just works."<br>Yea, I got a fantastic deal on my wife's laptop last Christmas. Of course, the first thing I did to keep her happy was format that joker and install Ubuntu. I'm sure Mac OS X would've "just worked"
        asmoore82
      • RE: Yahoo: The Linux Company

        @General C#

        MS Office is so horridly bloated that, even with a three-core 3+ Gig processor, 4 Gig of RAM and a total of 3 terabytes of drive space, i still wouldn't let it on this machine.

        (I'll be doubling the RAM in a couple of weeks. I still don't have the resources to burn to make Office worth running.)
        fairportfan
    • RE: Yahoo: The Linux Company

      @Mr. Dee Except that Google is #1 and they are on Linux.
      Jimster480
    • RE: Yahoo: The Linux Company

      @Mr. Dee Why compare to the second? What abt Google? Surely BING fails... Windows FAILS...
      JoeyDell
  • Message has been deleted.

    Loverock Davidson
    • Message has been deleted.

      guzz46
      • Message has been deleted.

        Loverock Davidson
      • Message has been deleted.

        HarryBrown
    • Message has been deleted.

      UrNotPayingAttention
      • Message has been deleted.

        Loverock Davidson
      • Message has been deleted.

        fairportfan
    • RE: Yahoo: The Linux Company

      @Loverock Davidson

      Right, so you obviously still don't see your bizarre logic, if Yahoo thought FreeBSD was much better don't you think those numbers would be reversed? 75% FreeBSD and 25% linux?

      And you know you're jealous of linux, thats why you always post on linux articles, if linux really was no good then you wouldn't be wasting any of your time talking about it now would you.

      Come on, admitting it will do you a world of good.
      guzz46
    • RE: Yahoo: The Linux Company

      @Loverock Davidson

      They're called "legacy systems", i.e. the 25%.
      betelgeuse68