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In a move that's going to raise a lot of eyebrows, Microsoft has joined the Open Invention Network to 'protect Linux and other important open source workloads from patent assertions'.

For those who haven't heard of the OIN, their mission statement is quite a simple and honourable one "The Open Invention Network is a shared defensive patent pool with the mission to protect Linux.". To find out more about the OIN see here.

Hold the phone, this isn't gaming news?

Correct. However, this is still very interesting and extremely surprising from a company that has been pretty hostile to Linux in the past. It's the kind of move that could result in some big shifts in the entire industry.

We know Microsoft’s decision to join OIN may be viewed as surprising to some; it is no secret that there has been friction in the past between Microsoft and the open source community over the issue of patents. For others who have followed our evolution, we hope this announcement will be viewed as the next logical step for a company that is listening to customers and developers and is firmly committed to Linux and other open source programs. 

Surprising is one word for it! Honestly, I'm in shock at this news. Does this mean we can firmly put the "Embrace, extend, and extinguish" phrase to rest and replace it with Embrace, extend, and protect? With Microsoft joining, they're bringing with them around 60,000 patents.

Moves like that, makes me seriously think about how Microsoft have changed, especially since their previous CEO Steve Ballmer called Linux "a cancer".

I think it also shows how far Linux has come as a platform for all things too, especially with Microsoft having a "Windows Subsystem for Linux" along with their support for running Linux on their Azure cloud computing platform.

What do you think to this?

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ElectricPrism Oct 10, 2018
Liam, am I to understand that Microsoft has added their 60,000 patent portfolio in some way that will benefit the OIN and Linux?
jarhead_h Oct 10, 2018
If Microsoft wants to "protect" Linux, it's because they think that they can control it. As Linus stated rather famously, the desktop is the ONLY area of computing that Linux does not dominate. On the desktop that would be Windows. Now Linux has matured enough that Windows is about to have competition.

Microsoft bought it's way into the Linux Foundation, and months later there was basically a coup which removed Linus. The LF is calling it a sabbatical, but he's not coming back if they can help it. They have implemented a CoC which directly panders to identity politics over quality of code, which has had the desired effect of splitting the community down left/right lines and could well destroy it. And it's just a coincidence that Microsoft bought their way in a few months earlier. Oh and Microsoft bought Github.

And now this.

Linux will not survive this as Linux. Microsoft will either control it or break it into a thousand pieces. Red Hat and Cannonical might even be on board. Google sure as hell will be.
RossBC Oct 10, 2018
Well my assumption that they posted 60k patents onto the OIN is because they want that stuff protected when it becomes opensource...
Should probably rephrase that when they start releasing their stuff on an open platform...

Last edited by RossBC on 10 October 2018 at 6:33 pm UTC
RossBC Oct 10, 2018
Because and Microsoft knows this they can release and open source OS but still keep a lot of the applications propriety. In all honesty if they manage to make an LINUX os that people will just gravitate too because its easy to use and just "WORKS" everyone should have something to worry about tbh.
Liam Dawe Oct 10, 2018
Quoting: ElectricPrismLiam, am I to understand that Microsoft has added their 60,000 patent portfolio in some way that will benefit the OIN and Linux?
Yes. It means they won't use any of them to go after Linux.
ElectricPrism Oct 10, 2018
Okay everyone, predictions, you dont just throw 60k patents into enemy territory without something brewing.

What is the probability that we will see "Linux as a Slave", "Microsoft Linux Desktop 2020", "Microsoft Office for Linux" and others?

Has maintenance of the Windows Kernel become tiresome. Is Windows 10 "The last windows" because they're getting ready to rebase? Is there a cost and technology benefit. Have they accepted that it is too much work to be King of the Software Stack so they are looking to be King of various profitable sectors -- Gaming, Server, Business Office Apps, etc...

Will there be 0 downsides (from Microsoft's perspective) to having a completely open platform below but completely closed proprietary Desktop Shell, Apps, etc...

I really enjoy projections based on probability, and right now probability suggests that they didn't add those 60k patents for no reason.

What I see is Microsoft has entered our territory and is attempting to fundamentally change the way that we exist. They may very well be extenguishing our culture, our close knit community, and changing our views on things.

Last edited by ElectricPrism on 10 October 2018 at 6:49 pm UTC
toor Oct 10, 2018
Sure… protecting Linux as far as it's in their interest :p
I doubt that they will let go their dominance on the gaming field because they joined this. They just need it for their cloud services.
ElectricPrism Oct 10, 2018
What is the most ruthless and financially strategic angle here? Of course they will peruse their Gaming grip, their objective is to make as much profit as possible.
Liam Dawe Oct 10, 2018
Quoting: ElectricPrismWhat is the most ruthless and financially strategic angle here? Of course they will peruse their Gaming grip, their objective is to make as much profit as possible.
Protecting themselves. They own GitHub, a massive place for OSS. They also have a lot of customers running Linux on Azure (which they actually support) and so on. It makes sense for them as a business to do this, while also giving Linux and OSS more security too.

This is a win-win as far as I can see. There's no doubt going to be tons of FUD thrown around though.
bubexel Oct 10, 2018
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As im telling from long time ago.. next big new windows for servers will be based on Linux. Anyone bet?
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