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LinuxWorld: Google signs up as Linux-patent licensee

By DanLM ·
If this is posted anywhere on Tech, I apologize. I looked, but didn't see anything.

http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=printArticleBasic&articleId=9029299

August 07, 2007 (IDG News Service) Google Inc. has increased its support for the open-source Linux operating system by becoming Open Invention Network's first end-user licensee. Set up in 2005, OIN is an intellectual property company focused on acquiring and pooling patents to protect Linux against patent infringement attacks.

Well, that place's a serious backer in Linuxes corner. It's really not surprising that Google would do this considering they seem to be mostly a Linux shop.

"Ever since Google got its start, Linux has given us the power and flexibility we need to serve millions of users around the world," he wrote. Being an OIN licensee enables companies like Google to focus less on patent issues and more on developing software and is therefore "the legal equivalent of taking a long, deep, relaxing breath," DiBona added. "We believe that Linux innovation moves fastest when developers can share their knowledge with full peace of mind."

As a side thought to this. I wonder what google's Linux flavor of choice is. I also wonder if Google has the largest Linux server farm? Just curiosity questions.

Was this another in your face by Google to Microsoft? Or was this as they say, a way of protecting themselves from patent issues. Chuckle, I say both.

Linux really does have some serious hitters in it's corner though when you look at their list of supporters. Is this an extensive enough list though to protect them from MicroSofts aggressive business practices and the FUD they are raising to scare people away from Linux.

OIN makes the patents it acquires available royalty-free to companies and individuals provided they agree not to assert their patents against the Linux operating system. The group's financial backers include IBM, NEC Corp., Novell Inc., Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV, Red Hat Inc. and Sony Corp. And now Google.

Dan

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I caught it too.

by dawgit In reply to LinuxWorld: Google signs ...

I saw it on Golem. (www.golem.de) Very interesting take. I'm not sure exactly what their motives are, but it seems another voice of reason in the growing chorus singing Enuf is enuf. -d

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Potential exploitation by OIN?

by CharlieSpencer In reply to LinuxWorld: Google signs ...

"OIN is an intellectual property company focused on acquiring and pooling patents to protect Linux ... "

What prevents OIN from potentially requiring a fee for the use of software covered by it's patents?

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Never thought of it that way but don't you think

by DanLM In reply to Potential exploitation by ...

It was extremely prudent on Linux's part to put together an organization such as this? Something official dealing specifically with patents and the protection of. Which organizations can join that use Linux products so that they can show their beleif in both the legality and also their support of Linux?

What you suggest goes against the grain of the open source community, not saying it can't happen. But I always thought that open support made their money off the support role(MySql comes to mind).

Dan

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Beats me.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Never thought of it that ...

I can't claim to understand the open source licensing model. I just notice a lot of the companies who formed OIN aren't noted for ignoring the opportunity to take advantage of patent infringement lawsuits. Big Blue leaps out at me, as does Sony.

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