Dear Yahoo!

Dear Yahoo!

Welcome to Ubuntu! As a regular contributor to the Ubuntu project, I think it’s great that you are partnering with Canonical.  Because of the agreement you signed, Canonical will be able to hire more people to work on Free software.  Also, your contributions will help Ubuntu continue offering their OS at no cost to users.  These are great things.

As things get going, though, there is one big thing (or a set of big things centered around one request) that you need to do to make the Ubuntu-Yahoo! user experience better.  In short, you need to index the crap out of Ubuntu- and Linux-related sites.  For example, if I do a Yahoo! search for launchpad bug 387765, I need the first link that comes up to be a link to the actual bug page for Launchpad bug #387765. As it stands now, a Yahoo! search for that phrase brings up two results, neither of which are relevant.  The first of the two results is a link to the Debian Bugs page on Launchpad.  As a contributor, this is not what I need.

For comparison, the same search on Google brings up 273 results, with the first result being a direct link to the bug report on Launchpad (which is now closed, thanks to the efforts of Fabien Tassin and the other Chromium packagers and hackers)).  Google’s results not only link me directly to the bug that I am inquiring about, but also link me to a large number of pages that may be relevant to that bug report.

The example that I provide above concerns search results that are beneficial for contributors and developers, but what about regular users?  When I search Yahoo! for "Dual boot Windows 7 and Ubuntu," the first page in the search results is for the Ubuntu 8.04 "Dual Booting," official documentation page.  This page is out of date, especially given our migration to Grub2 in the 9.10 release.

These are just two examples, and my searches are likely not representative of the multitudes of search requests made daily on your site for Ubuntu-related tasks.  Moreover, I won’t pretend to understand how incredibly complex indexing the web can be.  I’m just writing to note that there is room for improvement, and I would like to see improvement so that our users can use your service to get relevant search results.

After all, improving Linux-related searches would be a win-win for us and for you.  Ubuntu developers and users would get their work done, and problems solved, more quickly and effectively, and you would get more regular users performing their searches on Yahoo!  This sounds pretty good to me.  Here’s to hoping it can happen.