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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?

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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128 comments
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anarchist_tomato 11 October 2018 at 5:16 am UTC
I was about to say "no" with an expressionless face, but what are the 60,000 patents?
Salvatos 11 October 2018 at 5:21 am UTC
mylkai dont think so, if i watch kids today. they dont care about PC/laptops anymore. they browse the web with their phone, they watch netflix with their phones, they listen to music with their phones, they play games on their phones
Most kids didn't care about PCs when I was a kid either. They had watches, gameboys, mp3 players, etc. Doesn't change the fact that we all used computers at/for school, most of us now use them at work and anyone would choose a monitor over a 5-inch screen for their home entertainment if they have the option. Kids were never the main demographic for desktop computers (well, most types of computers), but that doesn't mean they won't use them later. Hell, there are a lot of things kids don't care about that they will need later on. Their lack of interest hardly indicates the death of an industry.
TemplarGR 11 October 2018 at 6:51 am UTC
People wondering why they would want a Linux based windows OS when they can have "the real thing", they need to look at android... Why use android on phones when you can use the real thing, linux itself?

At some point the vast majority of consumers need stability, quality assurance, eye candy, compatibility, the "it just works" mentality that Linux distros lack. Microsoft and other behemoths have the resources to ensure such a thing. It is the same thing Canonical has been trying for more than a decade with moderate success. Yet despite the fact that Ubuntu is very flawed as a distro, it still is the most widely used... Why not use the real thing (Debian) instead of Ubuntu or Mint?

Windows 10 has become a huge monstrosity of spaghetti code that is very hard to improve and maintain. Everytime they update something they even delete user files... It makes sense, most people responsible for large parts of Windows code have retired... The cost to develop and maintain Windows is on the rise while the profits are slim. The OS itself is fast becoming a liability for Microsoft, and is only useful for running their other more profitable stuff like Office, .Net, Azure, Xbox, etc.

Microsoft has already witnessed the inevitability of competing with opensource. Internet Explorer once ruled the internet with an iron grip when Netscape was opensourced to become Mozilla and Firefox... Alongside Chromium they utterly destroyed Microsoft's marketshare. Today IE and Edge marketshare is a joke...

So why keep Windows at all? Why not just port their profitable stuff on Linux, which is free software and the burden of development and maintainance falls on many companies/individuals and not just them? If you can't beat them, join them...

Obviously Microsoft will still keep a large part of the OS closed source, like Apple did with Macintosh and Darwin. And believe me, if they play their cards right, it will pay dividends to them because people will flock to Windows L(inux kernel) in droves...

Add the benefit of being better able to port their work on servers and mobile and you got a sweet deal for MS. It is a nobrainer.

Obviously it can't happen really soon. Remember Microsoft still has the upper hand on the Desktop and don't intend to just waste it. They will try to milk their Windows 10 dry first. But they need to prepare the next day.

And how you begin transitioning to Linux? First you need to make sure your compiler toolchain is up to snuff... Seeing as Linux already has one in place for C and C++, you just make sure your (ex) prioprietary framework and tools also work. Can you say .Net Core? Can you say opensourced Visual Studio? See where this is going?
mortigar 11 October 2018 at 7:37 am UTC
Yeah and probably laughing their arses off while Gabe is making the platform more and more viable to transition too for windows. the opensource community has already done the majority of the work and M$ will reap oh will it reap the rewards. If they play it right they win.

Then they will release their own shitty APIs, and expect people to use them on LINUX and start making opensource less opensource by pidgenholing developement to their flavour of LINUX.


Last edited by mortigar at 11 October 2018 at 7:42 am UTC
MayeulC 11 October 2018 at 7:55 am UTC
Well, since speculation is running rampant on this thread... I would like to see them opensource (or even just provide) a UWP runtime on Linux. I wouldn't actually be *that* surprised to see them do so, and would allow them to stay relevant, while pushing forward a solution they control. And having Microsoft Store on every platform would provide them with a generous cut of all the software sold. UWP as the next electron/java... we're going in circles

Regarding this move, this might also be that they were interested in some patents from the pool... Although I don't see how likely this would be.

dude
liamdawehttps://twitter.com/natfriedman/status/1050080717562990592

QuoteWe did not exclude any patents from our OIN commitment to license our portfolio to the Linux System. We signed the standard OIN License Agreement, and didn’t negotiate any exclusions. We actually clicked through the OIN agreement like any other licensee!

They have a lot of explications, but not excuse for for not funding GOL.

Haha, imagine how wild it would be if Microsoft were to sponsor Liam... A wide Microsoft banner on the website, now, that would be something ^^

Luke_Nukem
TemplarGRLinux is going to conquer the whole world. It is a matter of when, not if. So Microsoft is making the right moves... I expect them to turn Windows into a Linux distro + proprietary libraries/API/DE at some point. It will be cheaper for them to maintain, will be able to enter most markets Windows can't enter/dominate now, like mobiles/servers, and will still allow them to be top dog, assuming they create a good and polished Linux based desktop OS and make linux-compatible versions of their stuff like Office...

People may laugh at this idea now, but it is an inevitability. Trust me. It may not happen in 5 or even 10 years, but it will eventually... The traditional "pay for a Windows licence" model is dead.

It's certainly crazy but it is an idea I've been wondering about for a while now. Turn Windows in to a Linux distro that doesn't run Linux...

GNU/Windows!!!

This idea has been floating around for a while, but your terminology is Flawed ;) You can't have Linux without Linux.
Currently, what is being called Windows could be put as Win32/NT. GNU/Windows (GNU/Win32/NT) would be CYGWIN. Win32/Linux is something WINE does (and what you might be thinking about). GNU/NT is taken care of by WSL. More combinations to come if you count EXPLORER.EXE's shell in the lot.

TemplarGRMicrosoft has already witnessed the inevitability of competing with opensource. Internet Explorer once ruled the internet with an iron grip when Netscape was opensourced to become Mozilla and Firefox... Alongside Chromium they utterly destroyed Microsoft's marketshare. Today IE and Edge marketshare is a joke...
I get what you're saying, but the ruling browser nowadays is Chrome, which is proprietary (although there's Chromium, the "community edition").

Liam, there's a bug just above, I never put a smiley, it's " ) that get parsed as one.


Last edited by MayeulC at 11 October 2018 at 7:56 am UTC
Dribbleondo 11 October 2018 at 8:31 am UTC
I am 90% sure the Linux community will try and spin this the wrong way.
Beamboom 11 October 2018 at 8:42 am UTC
I'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.


Last edited by Beamboom at 11 October 2018 at 9:07 am UTC
mortigar 11 October 2018 at 9:39 am UTC
In all honesty its the fact that windows runs slow costs $$ for effectively putting malware on your computer. How they process and use information. windows is fine without all the extra bull.
I'd use it if the only thing I ran on it would be steam and nothing else ever outside of games.
Admittedly i'm getting to that point.
Would have the laptop as my dedicated Linux box for everything that's not gaming related.
Not saying i like microsoft just saying, I like playing games without massive hindrance.
Just hoping microsoft doesn't destroy a good eco system because it can pretty much.

Give it a couple of years the I told you so's will start flying
liju 11 October 2018 at 9:41 am UTC
TemplarGRLinux is going to conquer the whole world. It is a matter of when, not if. So Microsoft is making the right moves... I expect them to turn Windows into a Linux distro + proprietary libraries/API/DE at some point. It will be cheaper for them to maintain, will be able to enter most markets Windows can't enter/dominate now, like mobiles/servers, and will still allow them to be top dog, assuming they create a good and polished Linux based desktop OS and make linux-compatible versions of their stuff like Office...

People may laugh at this idea now, but it is an inevitability. Trust me. It may not happen in 5 or even 10 years, but it will eventually... The traditional "pay for a Windows licence" model is dead.

Well, G. is going away from Linux kernel with Fuchsia, so I'm not so sure about ruling the world. Depending on definition of ruling, we might have already been there though.

Still I am also quite sure its likely for them to go with Linux and do not ask their Customers to pay for their software directly. Maintaining their kernel by themselves must cost enormous amount of money.
Arehandoro 11 October 2018 at 10:13 am UTC
We need time to decide whether this move will be beneficial or not for us as a community. I don't like it, but I'm just an individual not that knowledgeable so better keep my mouth shut for now.
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