Google throws in with Linux patent-sharing organization

Google throws in with Linux patent-sharing organization

Summary: It's good news for GNU/Linux fans as Google joins the Open Invention Network (OIN), a patent-sharing organization that creates a legally protected environment for anyone who works with Linux. All OIN licensees agree to cross-license any Linux-related patents they might have to the others free of charge. According to Chris DiBona, Google Open Source Programs Manager, "Patent issues therefore become a much smaller concern inside the community, and OIN members can focus their energy on writing and releasing software rather than vetting their code for intellectual property issues. It's the legal equivalent of taking a long, deep breath."

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It's good news for GNU/Linux fans as Google joins the Open Invention Network (OIN), a patent-sharing organization that creates a legally protected environment for anyone who works with Linux. All OIN licensees agree to cross-license any Linux-related patents they might have to the others free of charge. According to Chris DiBona, Google Open Source Programs Manager,

Patent issues therefore become a much smaller concern inside the community, and OIN members can focus their energy on writing and releasing software rather than vetting their code for intellectual property issues. It's the legal equivalent of taking a long, deep breath.

While many open source advocates argue vehemently that software patents are a) evil, b) granted frivolously, c) impossible to avoid, or d) all of the above, OIN members are in effect saying that even assuming the patents are valid, we're giving Linux a pass. Unfortunately only Linux is covered, and not other free and open source programs.

So, do you think Microsoft will be next to join? Just kidding.

Topics: Linux, Google, Open Source

Ed Burnette

About Ed Burnette

Ed Burnette is a software industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience as a programmer, author, and speaker. He has written numerous technical articles and books, most recently "Hello, Android: Introducing Google's Mobile Development Platform" from the Pragmatic Programmers.

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2 comments
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  • At this rate

    software patents will destroy themselves! ]:)
    Linux User 147560
    • It looks to me . . .

      more like the Arms Race a "Few" Years ago. Both sides amassing large stockpiles of weapons in an attempt the cause the other to blink. Neither side actually wants to HAVE to go to court, but at this point, they're playing a dangerous game of chicken . . .That could ultimately have a very detrimental effect on the Software market . . .
      JLHenry