Linux kernel rewrite claims denied

Open Source Development Labs has reportedly rejected reports it is leading a revision of the Linux Kernel to remove code that might infringe software patents
Written by Ingrid Marson, Contributor

Open Source Development Labs (OSDL), which promotes the adoption of the Linux operating system, has denied that it plans to rewrite the Linux kernel to combat claims that it infringes some software patents.

Linux Business Week reported last week that, according to "informed sources", the OSDL, Intel, IBM, the state of Oregon and the city of Beaverton are part of a consortium that will rewrite the parts of the Linux kernel that allegedly infringe patents. It said that the project, called "Operation Open Gates", aims to stop Microsoft from scaring customers off Linux by claiming that the operating system infringes patents.

In recent months, Microsoft has used the threat of IP infringement as part of its battle against Linux. In October 2004, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer claimed in an executive email that Windows was a better choice than Linux because it provides protection against legal action over patent violations. A month later, at Microsoft's Asian Government Leaders Forum in Singapore, Ballmer claimed that Linux violates more than 228 patents and that organisations will be at risk of legal action if they use Linux.

But the OSDL has denied that it is planning to rewrite parts of the kernel. According to online news site NewsForge, OSDL officials have said that the report was not accurate, and that while Beaverton is putting $1.2m into economic development around open source software this is not connected to rewriting the Linux kernel.

The OSDL was not available for comment at the time of writing.

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