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

Microsoft just made 60,000 of its patents open source

Through its participation in OIN, Microsoft is explicitly acknowledging the importance of open source software to its future growth.

But that situation may be coming to an end with the announcement today that Microsoft is joining the Open Invention Network (OIN).

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Scott Guthrie, Microsoft's executive vice president of the cloud and enterprise group, said: "We want to protect open source projects from IP lawsuits, so we're opening our patent portfolio to the OIN". 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. Member companies also promise not to assert their patents against the Linux Community. 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".

However, the company is not making patents such as Windows' desktop and desktop application code open source. Microsoft is bringing a valuable and deep portfolio of over 60,000 issued patents to OIN for the benefit of Linux and other open source technologies. All members of the organization can access any patents that OIN owns as well as other cross-licenses between those in the group as well. The company's past tussle with open source community isn't hidden from anyone, and its gesture surely seems like an effort to save open source projects from IP lawsuits. In 2016, the company even became a member of the Linux Foundation. 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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