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posted by martyb on Wednesday October 10 2018, @10:53PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the what's-the-catch dept.

Microsoft open-sources its patent portfolio

By joining the Open Invention Network, Microsoft is offering its entire patent portfolio -- with the legacy exception of its Windows and desktop application code -- to all of the open-source patent consortium's members.

Before Microsoft joined, OIN had more than 2,650 community members and owns more than 1,300 global patents and applications. OIN is the largest patent non-aggression community in history and represents a core set of open-source intellectual-property values. Its members include Google, IBM, Red Hat, and SUSE. The OIN patent license and member cross-licenses are available royalty-free to anyone who joins the OIN community.

This is maybe the biggest Microsoft news since Microsoft "acquired" The Linux Foundation nearly two years ago in Nov 2016.

Also at Ars Technica.


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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 10 2018, @11:04PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 10 2018, @11:04PM (#747188)

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Wednesday October 10 2018, @11:05PM (2 children)

    by Gaaark (41) on Wednesday October 10 2018, @11:05PM (#747189) Journal

    Is this irrevocable?

    --
    --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11 2018, @02:51AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11 2018, @02:51AM (#747270)

      According to the FSF's statement [fsf.org]:

      OIN's nonaggression agreement only covers a defined list of free software packages, and any OIN member, including Microsoft, can withdraw completely with thirty days notice.

      • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Thursday October 11 2018, @02:58AM

        by Gaaark (41) on Thursday October 11 2018, @02:58AM (#747271) Journal

        So, Extend, Embrace, Sue.

        Nice.

        --
        --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 10 2018, @11:55PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 10 2018, @11:55PM (#747207)

    I don't want your patent for systemd.

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday October 11 2018, @03:33PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 11 2018, @03:33PM (#747460) Journal

      How about a patent for a method and system to perform an OS update without deleting users data.

      An OS update that deletes users data is okay. But the way to do an OS update without deleting users' data is patented.

      --
      Employers should not mandate wearing clothing. It should be a personal choice. It only affects me. Junk can't breathe!
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Blymie on Thursday October 11 2018, @12:43AM (5 children)

    by Blymie (4020) on Thursday October 11 2018, @12:43AM (#747215)

    One day soon, we may wake up to the announcement that Microsoft Linux Version 1.0 is ready for download. Two versions, one for The Cloud (and customized for Azure), and one for the desktop.

    The desktop version will have Word (hey, if they can port/release an SQL server...), and a variety of other apps. Including Microsoft's Solitaire.... and be free, with revenue generated from their app store.

    Soon after, we may wake up to everyone running this "Linux Thing" that "Microsoft Invented", it's so COOL...

    /me shudders.

    Yet, it may very well come true...

    • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Thursday October 11 2018, @12:52AM

      by Gaaark (41) on Thursday October 11 2018, @12:52AM (#747220) Journal

      I'm actually surprised it hasn't happened yet: shows you how slow MS moves.

      Yes, I agree it will happen, just when.

      --
      --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
    • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Thursday October 11 2018, @12:54AM (1 child)

      by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Thursday October 11 2018, @12:54AM (#747221) Journal

      Very possible, because Windows doesn't make them much money outside the business sector. Since Linux is free...

      --
      I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11 2018, @02:06AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11 2018, @02:06AM (#747250)

        windows as a service prolly a couple of years away.

    • (Score: 2) by stretch611 on Thursday October 11 2018, @08:42AM

      by stretch611 (6199) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 11 2018, @08:42AM (#747338)

      I'll stick to Linux releases without "telemetry."

      --
      I think; therefore, I am vaccinated.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11 2018, @10:48AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11 2018, @10:48AM (#747377)

      It won't be called Linux. It'll be called 'Visual L++' and will add all kinds of proprietary enhancements.

      Linus will then sue Microsoft, and Microsoft will be ordered to discontinue the product and will be enjoined from making any Linux products in future.

      A couple of years later Microsoft will release the U# operating system with the .LET framework.

  • (Score: 3, Touché) by c0lo on Thursday October 11 2018, @01:03AM (3 children)

    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 11 2018, @01:03AM (#747229) Journal

    So no more Microsoft tax on every Android sold? Really?

    --
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 2) by RandomFactor on Thursday October 11 2018, @01:32AM (2 children)

      by RandomFactor (3682) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 11 2018, @01:32AM (#747237) Journal

      Probably dependent on every single hand held manufacturer and whether they are also a member.
       
      I just scrolled through the members shown here:
      https://www.openinventionnetwork.com/about-us/members/ [openinventionnetwork.com]
       
      and only saw two mobile phone manufacturers.
       
      Google
      Sony

      --
      В «Правде» нет известий, в «Известиях» нет правды
      • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Thursday October 11 2018, @08:26AM (1 child)

        by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Thursday October 11 2018, @08:26AM (#747332) Homepage
        You missed Purism, and of course some carriers rebrand phones - I did notice a couple of carriers there. Lots of noticeable absentees there, certainly. Given Samsung and its Tizen were pushing for openness (though not for the purest of motives, I detected whilst I was working there), that's a huge gap in the list.
        --
        I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
        • (Score: 2) by RandomFactor on Thursday October 11 2018, @09:40AM

          by RandomFactor (3682) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 11 2018, @09:40AM (#747354) Journal

          Wasn't really aware of them. Their phone doesn't appear to exist yet, although there is a pre-order button, it's basically a gofundme/kickstarter looking page. for $599 you can hope for one in April 2019.
          .
          Looks like they roll their own OS based on Linux rather than using Android anyway.

          --
          В «Правде» нет известий, в «Известиях» нет правды
  • (Score: 4, Informative) by Runaway1956 on Thursday October 11 2018, @01:39AM (1 child)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 11 2018, @01:39AM (#747240) Homepage Journal

    All the largest corporations agree not to sue each other. But, the little guy with a cool idea? Fair game to all members.

    --
    Let's go Brandon!
    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Thursday October 11 2018, @08:39AM

      by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Thursday October 11 2018, @08:39AM (#747335) Homepage
      Yeah, when people like sony and microsoft sit at the table with a pile of patents in front of them, saying "we can all play nicely together here, can't we .... /can't we/ >wink< ?" the first thing that goes through my mind is the GSM mafia. That "community" I know, from having worked in a 2nd-3rd-division telecomms company, would happily knee-cap anyone that dared to try to muscle their way into their fruity little gang. (We had 2nd-division customers, we were a consultancy who could sell everything from h/w to app-layer, so customers could do as little or as much of it as they wanted, but i don't know if we could really consider ourselves 2nd division.) Several of our customers were Jimmy Hoffa'd when they came up with just a small number of clever patents in a particular sub-field. (Directonal antennae that only radiate away from your head - invented in Denmark, by one of our (s/w) customers, but killed by the GSM mafia.)

      But the dinosaur in the room is the "exception of its Windows and desktop application code" - which is probably about 99.9% of microsoft's IP.
      --
      I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11 2018, @02:27AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11 2018, @02:27AM (#747259)

    The benefits of this move, aside from PR and spin, are negated by their Azure Advantage program [pcworld.com].. There are two reasons for that. The first is that OIN only applies to patents that Microsoft is granted. If a non-practicing entity, nominally a patent troll, waltzes in with their own patent, OIN cannot help. The second reason is that Microsoft is in the practice of off-loading patents, a method known as "spring licensing [redmondmag.com]". That means that when Microsoft sells off a patent grant, they add in a clause indemnifying their own customers and only their own. Who is left to attack then? Non-Microsoft cutomers. How can OIN help? It can't because Microsoft sold the patents. Can't anyone counter sue, especially for cross-licensing? Nope, these are non-practicing entities. The have no reason to and even if they did they have no tangible assets being just a shell company. If you fight you lose money and if you win in court, the shell company vanishes in a cloud of greasy black smoke and you're still out your money.

    Joining OIN would have been a great symbolic move well before Azure. Now it is just Microsoft finding a clever way to fuck with Free and Open Source software users while getting positive PR from the obsequious and ignorant trade press.

    So yeah pull the other one, Bill, it's got bells on it.

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by maxwell demon on Thursday October 11 2018, @04:54AM

      by maxwell demon (1608) on Thursday October 11 2018, @04:54AM (#747289) Journal

      Joining OIN would have been a great symbolic move well before Azure.

      Even before, it would not have been a great symbolic move:

      • OIN members do not grant the patents to everyone but only to other OIN members. You are not a member? You still can be sued.
      • It only covers a specific list of projects. Reuse the code in another project, and you can be sued. Moreover, only modified versions with maintainers mentioned on their web site are covered; if you aren't and fork the project, you can be sued.
      • A member can leave OIN; when doing so, the patent license ends.

      In other words, OIN is actively harmful to Linux.

      --
      The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11 2018, @04:37PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11 2018, @04:37PM (#747490)

    Never trust them.

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