Microsoft has made 60,000 patents open source to help Linux and joined the Open Invention Network (OIN), an open source patent group designed to help protect Linux from patent lawsuits.
Scott Guthrie, Microsoft’s executive vice president of the cloud and enterprise group, said: “We want to protect open source projects from IP lawsuits, so we’re opening our patent portfolio to the OIN.”
This makes the company’s library over 60,000 patents open source and available to OIN members.
OIN supplies a license platform for Linux for around 2,400 companies — from individual developers to huge companies like Google and IBM — and all members get access to both OIN-owned patents and cross-licenses between other OIN licensees, royalty-free.
OIN gets thousands of new patents from Microsoft, and Microsoft is helping the open-source community that it once claimed was the cancer of the software industry.
Obviously there are exceptions to what Microsoft is making available. Windows desktop and desktop application code is off the list, but it is not clear whether the Linux community would want that.