Microsoft just made 60,000 of its patents open source

Joanna Estrada
October 11, 2018

"We pledge our entire patent portfolio to the Linux system".

Microsoft has joined the "largest patent non-aggression community in history", the Open Invention Network (OIN), effectively open-sourcing nearly its entire patent portfolio. Founded back in 2005, OIN's mission has been to shield Linux developers from patent lawsuits - a legal tactic Microsoft has used time and time again to extract royalties from industry vendors. In this process, in a way, Microsoft has open sourced more than 60,000 patents. 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".

Andersen's mention of "friction" is putting it lightly. Through its participation in OIN, Microsoft is explicitly acknowledging the importance of open source software to its future growth. In return it expects that licensees do not assert their patents against the Linux community. This resulted in frequent clashes with the Android community and others but Microsoft is intent on leaving that behind.

Jim Zemlin, Executive Director, The Linux Foundation offers his thoughts below. Windows desktop and desktop application code is off the list, but it is not clear whether the Linux community would want that. 'For others who have followed our evolution, we hope this announcement will be viewed as the next logical step for a company that is listening to customers and developers and is firmly committed to Linux and other open source programs.

Microsoft joining the Open Invention Network comes a week after the Redmond company joined LOT Network as well to help fight patent trolls.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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