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

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

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

This can be done by supporting grassroots efforts like the FSF's End Software Patents campaign, or by Microsoft directly urging the US Congress to pass legislation excluding software from the effects of patents, or both.

A month shy of its 14th birthday, the Open Invention Network (OIN) was obviously very happy to welcome the beast of Redmond, and 60,000 or so of its patents, into the group, which consists of almost 2,700 companies and includes the likes of Google and IBM. This is also the best way for Microsoft to show that it does not intend to use patents as a weapon against any free software, beyond just that free software which is part of OIN's specific list. This resulted in frequent clashes with the Android community and others but Microsoft is intent on leaving that behind. According to ZDNet, Microsoft's entire patent portfolio is on offer with the legacy exception of its Windows and desktop application code. "For others who have followed our evolution as a company, we hope this will be viewed as the next logical step for a company that is listening to its customers and is firmly committed to Linux and other open source programs".

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This is a surprise to many in the developer community as Microsoft has been notoriously protective of its patents. In this process, in a way, Microsoft has open sourced more than 60,000 patents.

The Open Invention Network was created by IBM, Red Hat, and others back in 2005 as a patent pool in which members agreed to cross-license their patents to each other in exchange for agreeing not to assert those patents against companies working on Linux-based projects. A number of Android vendors, including Samsung, pay the company a royalty on each phone they ship to license patents such as the ones covering the exFAT file system.

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