The FSF Wants Microsoft To Do More To Help Fight Software Patents

Report: Microsoft making patents royalty-free for Android OEMs

Microsoft has made 60,000 patents open source to help Linux and joined the Open Invention Network (OIN), an open source patent group created to help protect Linux from patent lawsuits. We are honored to stand with OIN as an active participant in its program to protect against patent aggression in core Linux and other important OSS technologies. And in the process, Microsoft has made 60,000 of its patents open source. This group includes startups, individual developers, and the biggest tech firms in the world. 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".

"We know Microsoft's decision to join OIN may be viewed as surprising to some; it is no secret that there has been friction in the past between Microsoft and the open source community over the issue of patents", Microsoft Corporate Vice President Erich Andersen said. Enterprise cloud computing depends heavily on Linux and other open-source technologies, and any type of patent dispute involving open-source technology would send shock waves through the system. This has led Microsoft to soften its stance on the operating system and open source development. In 2016, the company even became a member of the Linux Foundation.

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The company has shown increasing warmth to the open source community in recent years, and this latest move means that other OIN members will have access to its patents - with the exception of those relating to Windows and desktop applications. It's also worth noting that the members of OIN can cross-license their patents to other members.

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