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?