Published: Thu, October 11, 2018
Tech | By

Microsoft open-sources 60,000 patents to protect Linux

Microsoft open-sources 60,000 patents to protect Linux

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

Following yesterday's rather landmark move of Microsoft joining the Open Invention Network and thus allowing much of its vast patent collection now being allowed to help off patent attacks within the Linux/open-source ecosystem, the Free Software Foundation applauded the move but wants Microsoft to do more. 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.

In spite of this, the use of patents to extract royalties was one of the major sticking points within the open source community, used as evidence that Microsoft was not genuine in its commitment to open source principles. Previously, Microsoft had a reputation that lead members of the open source community to believe that the company wasn't exactly doing all it could to make itself accessible and an ally to those within the collective.


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". This has led Microsoft to soften its stance on the operating system and open source development. "We hope this announcement will be viewed as the next logical step for a company that is listening to customers and developers", he added.

Microsoft didn't get into specifics about how the new patent licensing arrangement will work, so it isn't totally clear if the software giant is ending any ongoing royalty payments from Linux vendors.

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.

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