As part of its steps towards the open-source world, Microsoft has decided to join the Open Innovation Network (OIN) and make some 60000 of its patents public in order to protect the Linux world from legal trouble.
More than 2,650 members of the OIN will thus get access to Microsoft’s patent portfolio, though the company will obviously retain exclusivity on a number of technologies, including those related to Windows.
Just as expected, Microsoft used this occasion to put highlight its open-source efforts, reminding everyone that what it wants is to bring its products and OSS closer together.
“At Microsoft, we take it as a given that developers do not want a binary choice between Windows vs. Linux, or .NET vs Java – they want cloud platforms to support all technologies. They want to deploy technologies at the edge – on any device - that meet customer needs,” Erich Andersen Corporate Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, explained.
Microsoft’s relationship with the OSS world
Furthermore, Microsoft says this is one of the efforts the company has made in its open-source push.
“We began this journey over two years ago through programs like Azure IP Advantage, which extended Microsoft’s indemnification pledge to open source software powering Azure services. We doubled down on this new approach when we stood with Red Hat and others to apply GPL v. 3 “cure” principles to GPL v. 2 code, and when we recently joined the LOT Network, an organization dedicated to addressing patent abuse by companies in the business of assertion,” Andersen continued.
Microsoft explains that its decision to join OIN and make its patents available to all members should encourage more companies to join the organization, which would eventually create a major “benefit for the open source community.’
The company’s investments in the open-source world have been received with mixed reactions from fans here, especially given Microsoft’s relationship with the Linux ecosystem in the last decade. With Satya Nadella at the helm of the company, however, the software giant has made big steps towards reconciliation with OSS companies and communities, so today’s announcement is supposed to be just a step of these long-term efforts.