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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?

24 Likes, Who?
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121 comments
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F.Ultra 11 October 2018 at 5:01 pm UTC
BeamboomI'm honestly surprised at many of the responses here. It looks like you haven't really been in touch with the IT world in at least ten years?

It's fair enough to be sceptical, I can totally relate to that, but over the last 5-6 years there's been significant policy changes in how Microsoft has approached open source in general and Linux in particular. So much so that it's made nonstop headlines in the IT press. Hence my surprise.

Their dedication is of a very wide nature and involves a lot of areas. Examples are aplenty: Linux version of Visual Studio Code (and a bloody good editor it is too) and MSSQL server, investment in time and money on the Linux Foundation, cooperation with both Canonical and Redhat on running their distros on Azure and Windows 10, change to supporting GIT over their own versioning system, I mean... I could go on and on. The list really is extensive. This is just how it is.

I'm an old man myself, and by God I tell you I've swore and cursed over their name many a times. I was there in the 90s and early 2000 when they did nothing but to inject and pollute every single open standard protocol on the whole god damn internet, shitty implementations where their friggin' trademark! Not to mention their CEOs and their attitude towards Linux.

But this is not the case today. Yes, they are a corporation and yes they have an agenda, but so do every other commercial company, also those who for a long time has proven to support Linux. Open source and corporations can coexist and benefit from each other - they have, for a very long time already. The Linux kernel would not have been what it is today had it not been for contributions from the big, commercial actors out there. Corporations have been depending on Linux for decades already - and Linux depend on them too.

There are no impenetrable walls between Linux and the corporate world, other than amongst evangelists and - yes I dare say it - fanatics.

One question here is if this is really a policy change in Microsoft or if they are more or less forced to go this way to stay relevant in the Enterprise/Cloud environment where they want to grow. I hardly think that the their expectation was that the majority of instances on Azure should be Linux servers when they first launched the service, and the very fact that this is so probably scares them somewhat.
jens 11 October 2018 at 6:11 pm UTC
F.Ultra
BeamboomI'm honestly surprised at many of the responses here. It looks like you haven't really been in touch with the IT world in at least ten years?

It's fair enough to be sceptical, I can totally relate to that, but over the last 5-6 years there's been significant policy changes in how Microsoft has approached open source in general and Linux in particular. So much so that it's made nonstop headlines in the IT press. Hence my surprise.

Their dedication is of a very wide nature and involves a lot of areas. Examples are aplenty: Linux version of Visual Studio Code (and a bloody good editor it is too) and MSSQL server, investment in time and money on the Linux Foundation, cooperation with both Canonical and Redhat on running their distros on Azure and Windows 10, change to supporting GIT over their own versioning system, I mean... I could go on and on. The list really is extensive. This is just how it is.

I'm an old man myself, and by God I tell you I've swore and cursed over their name many a times. I was there in the 90s and early 2000 when they did nothing but to inject and pollute every single open standard protocol on the whole god damn internet, shitty implementations where their friggin' trademark! Not to mention their CEOs and their attitude towards Linux.

But this is not the case today. Yes, they are a corporation and yes they have an agenda, but so do every other commercial company, also those who for a long time has proven to support Linux. Open source and corporations can coexist and benefit from each other - they have, for a very long time already. The Linux kernel would not have been what it is today had it not been for contributions from the big, commercial actors out there. Corporations have been depending on Linux for decades already - and Linux depend on them too.

There are no impenetrable walls between Linux and the corporate world, other than amongst evangelists and - yes I dare say it - fanatics.

One question here is if this is really a policy change in Microsoft or if they are more or less forced to go this way to stay relevant in the Enterprise/Cloud environment where they want to grow. I hardly think that the their expectation was that the majority of instances on Azure should be Linux servers when they first launched the service, and the very fact that this is so probably scares them somewhat.

I guess both with a changing market and a different CEO as the driving forces.
DrMcCoy 11 October 2018 at 6:27 pm UTC
BeamboomTheir dedication is of a very wide nature and involves a lot of areas. Examples are aplenty: Linux version of Visual Studio Code (and a bloody good editor it is too) and MSSQL server, investment in time and money on the Linux Foundation, cooperation with both Canonical and Redhat on running their distros on Azure and Windows 10, change to supporting GIT over their own versioning system, I mean... I could go on and on. The list really is extensive. This is just how it is.

I have a question for you: how does that boot taste?
jens 11 October 2018 at 6:38 pm UTC
DrMcCoy
BeamboomTheir dedication is of a very wide nature and involves a lot of areas. Examples are aplenty: Linux version of Visual Studio Code (and a bloody good editor it is too) and MSSQL server, investment in time and money on the Linux Foundation, cooperation with both Canonical and Redhat on running their distros on Azure and Windows 10, change to supporting GIT over their own versioning system, I mean... I could go on and on. The list really is extensive. This is just how it is.

I have a question for you: how does that boot taste?
Is everything OK with you?
DrMcCoy 11 October 2018 at 6:45 pm UTC
jensIs everything OK with you?

No.
jens 11 October 2018 at 6:50 pm UTC
DrMcCoy
jensIs everything OK with you?
No.
Get well soon! ;)


Last edited by jens at 11 October 2018 at 10:04 pm UTC
Purple Library Guy 11 October 2018 at 7:49 pm UTC
BeamboomThere are no impenetrable walls between Linux and the corporate world, other than amongst evangelists and - yes I dare say it - fanatics.
I must say I'm not particularly either pleased or impressed that you "dared say it"--in bold yet. Is saying "yes I dare say it" supposed to get you off the hook for insulting quite a few of the people here? Why would that be then? I don't think it would be appropriate for me to say "Yes I dare say it" and call you a corporate toady, do you? Of course you don't. So why you calling me an evangelist fanatic?

You make some interesting points but they can't be as strong as they seem if you have to mix in mockery of anyone who disagrees. It's particularly weird given that, in the post itself, you not only say that the position you're mocking is one you held yourself, but that it used to be completely justified, and the only thing that has changed your mind is close exposure to a steady stream of IT propaganda news which many of those with a different opinion might not have been exposed to in such a pervasive way. So the fact that other people don't have your information sources makes them, "yes you dare say it", fanatics. Sure, that makes a ton of sense.
Dedale 11 October 2018 at 8:26 pm UTC
About those complaining about the infamous CoC: It is likely to be amended and will eventually resemble something like normal rules. So "those people with an axe to grind" will not get that lever to oust people for political reasons.

So wait and see, the worst is never certain.

My feeble understanding of the OIN is it works as some sort of a non-agression pact. Doesn't sounds bad in itself. M$ further moves will be more revealing. To early to smell a EEE IMHO. Are there people here documented enough to be able to tell if they would succeed if they tried ?
Shmerl 11 October 2018 at 8:58 pm UTC
In my experience, MS becomes "good" only when they start losing grip on that market.


Last edited by Shmerl at 11 October 2018 at 8:59 pm UTC. Edited 2 times.
vlademir1 12 October 2018 at 4:07 am UTC
BeamboomI'm honestly surprised at many of the responses here. It looks like you haven't really been in touch with the IT world in at least ten years?
While I agree with the underlying sentiment of your full post, some of the manner in which you put it is significantly counterproductive at the least. You don't win hearts and minds with the kind of tone you're laying down here from the first paragraph. This especially holds with the current world environment where some flavor of hyperfactionalization, with it's inherent emotional fetters on intelligent discourse, enters into nearly every facet of everyone's daily lives to some degree.
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