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Yahoo! gets code improvements back and, by being the originals and having the most experts familiar with the entire code base - and it is huge, they retain their competitive advantage. They also do this while fostering good will and, potentially, reducing the number of bugs, improving security, and increasing efficiency.

It's brilliant, in a way. There are risks, but they are small and mitigated. They may even end up selling support and customizations, or enabling that market. The upside potentials are many and the downsides are few and only risk small impacts.

Hell, you can get RedHat for the low cost of nothing, just by signing up for it. On top of that, they will give you every single last line of code you want. They'll give you all of the code, and do it for free.

Yet, they are a successful for-profit company. They don't even accept financial donations, as far as I know. They aren't the wealthiest company, but they are doing quite well and not suffering financially.

Open source doesn't mean no profit. It just means additional rights for the source code and/or user. (Different licenses prioritize different liberties and have different goals.)

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