Microsoft Open Sources 60,000 Patents To Protect Linux & Open Source

Microsoft Open Sources 60,000 Patents To Protect Linux & Open Source

Microsoft has announced that it is joining the Open Invention Network, a collective that aims to protect open source software and Linux from patent issues. OIN CEO Keith Bergelt said it covers "everything related to older open-source technologies such as Android, the Linux kernel, and OpenStack; newer technologies such as LF Energy and HyperLedger, and their predecessor and successor versions".

Microsoft's decision to join the group is yet another sign that the company, which at one point was making more money shaking down Android device makers than from its own mobile strategy, has reversed itself when it comes to open-source technology.

This makes some 60,000 Microsoft patents available to OIN and the Linux community, which will likely make it easier for Linux developers to do further work without the threat of legal action.

Andersen's mention of "friction" is putting it lightly. Member companies also promise not to assert their patents against the Linux Community.

Since then, times have changed; the IT space is no longer dominated by Windows, but by a collection of platforms, which include Linux-based systems. Through its participation in OIN, Microsoft is explicitly acknowledging the importance of open source software to its future growth.

Jim Zemlin, Executive Director, The Linux Foundation offers his thoughts below.

For those unfamiliar, the Open Innovation Network is the world's largest patent consortium where members share their patents with other members loyalty-free, with each member agreeing not to sue Linux developers for their use of the shared patents in their applications. Back in 2013, Samsung reportedly paid Microsoft $1 billion in patent-licensing over its use of Android.

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