The usual suspects are on a patent hunt

Had not SCO tried to shake down IBM on behalf of its claimed Linux rights, the community might never have seen the wisdom in standing-down and sharing patents.

New OSDL LogoIt's not every day you see two press releases that passed through the same sets of hands, from different groups, about different things, both telling one story.

Yet here they are.

The Open Invention Network (IBM, Novell, Philips, Red Hat, and Sony are all mentioned) wants to bring Linux patents into a commons for cross-licensing.

The OSDL, meanwhile, has opened its Patent Commons (Computer Associates, IBM, Intel, Novell, Red Hat, and Sun Microsystems are noted), a database developers can use to research patented open source technologies. The boldfaces here are mine, meant to provide ease of use to readers who like to skim my stuff -- we know who you are.

Coincidence? Well, yes, a clever spokesperson for OSDL told me by way of background. "A lot of companies are supporting open source development in different ways. Every step forward is a step in the right direction."

And who do we thank for all this? Probably SCO. Had not SCO tried to shake down IBM (and by extension, the rest of the open source community) on behalf of its claimed Linux rights, the community might never have seen the wisdom in standing-down and sharing patents.

Just to be clear. The OIN will try to bring Linux patents into the open source community. The OSDL will provide a database of all sorts of open source patent data.

Yet proprietary software companies may come to fear the ides of November.  (Oh, and before you write about that one I checked last night. It was indeed a Full Moon. Shakespeare's original reference was to the Moon's phases, not the middle of the month.)

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