Microsoft has joined the initiative to protect Linux against patent claims


The Open Invention Network (OIN), which aims to protect the Linux ecosystem from patent claims, announced that Microsoft has joined the OIN members.

Thus agrees not to file patent claims and to allow free use of some proprietary technologies in projects related to the Linux ecosystem.

As a contribution to the common cause, Misrosoft transferred the right to use more than 60,000 of its patents to OIN participants.

About the Open Invention Network

Participants OIN include 2.650 companies, communities and organizations They have signed a license agreement for the exchange of patents.

Between The main OIN members involved in the creation of a group of patents that protect Linux are located companies like Google, IBM, NEC, Toyota, SUSE, Philips, Red Hat, HP, Juniper, Facebook, Cisco, Fujitsu and Sony.

The companies that sign obtain access to the OIN patents in their hands, in exchange for the obligation not to make legal claims for the use of technologies applied in the Linux ecosystem.

The agreement between the OIN members applies only to the components of the distributions that are included in the definition of a Linux system ("Linux System").

Currently the list includes 2728 packages, including the Linux kernel, the Android platform, KVM, Git, nginx, CMake, PHP, Python, Ruby, Go, Lua, OpenJDK, WebKit, KDE, GNOME, QEMU, Firefox, LibreOffice, Qt, systemd, X.Org, Wayland, etc.

In addition to pledges of non-aggression, a patent pool was formed under the OIN, including purchased or donated patents related to Linux by the participants. The OIN group of patents includes more than 1300 patents.

Notably, one of the reasons for the emergence of OIN at some point was Microsoft's aggressive policy on Linux.

In particular, Microsoft claimed that more than 300 patents were infringed on Linux, although it did not reveal the list of these patents and used it to pressure commercial structures and conclude patent agreements.


After some time, patent claims started to be advanced against Android and this platform was adopted under the protection of OIN.

To oppose Microsoft, OIN members bought a pool of patents featuring one of the first mentions of technologies for creating dynamic web content, which anticipated the emergence of systems like Microsoft's ASP, Sun / Oracle's JSP, and PHP.

Microsoft joins the cause and puts aside its conflicts with Linux

Now Microsoft has radically changed its position and he has acted on the side of defenders of the Linux ecosystem and open source software.

Microsoft now you agree not to use your patents against Linux and open source software, and recognizes the collaborative development model as a key element to create innovation.

Microsoft's participation in OIN significantly reduces the risk of patent infringement against companies that use and create open products, and is an important signal to other industry representatives.

Bradley M. Kuhn, president of the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), said that to confirm the sincerity of his intentions, Microsoft must submit a request to include the open source driver in the Linux kernel.

It is proposed to transfer the code under the GPLv2 + license, which will allow the elements listed in the GPL license on the transfer to be applied to it, together with the code of rights to use patents.

Recall that the driver with the implementation of exFAT five years ago was inaugurated by Samsung is available under the GPLv2, but it is not yet included in the main part of the Linux kernel at risk of filing a claim by Microsoft in the patent infringement that involves exFAT.

With the entry into OIN, the situation has not changed, as Microsoft did not include in the agreement with OIN the patents related to exFAT, which makes it possible to use them as before to exert pressure.

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