For years, the Open Invention Community (OIN), the most important patent non-aggression ever, has protected Linux from patent assaults and patent trolls. Now, on October 13, 2020, it expanded its scope from core Linux packages and adjoining open-source code by increasing its Linux System Definition. Specifically, meaning patents regarding the Android Open Supply Undertaking (AOSP) 10 and the Prolonged File Allocation Desk exFAT file system at the moment are protected.
That is essential as a result of for these of you with lengthy recollections Microsoft used to make billions from Android and exFAT-related patent licenses. These days are lengthy over, and this buries them for good.
First, Microsoft joined the OIN in 2018. Then, as Erich Andersen, then Microsoft’s company vp and chief mental property (IP) counsel mentioned on the time meant “We’re licensing all patents we personal that learn on the ‘Linux system.'” This consists of patents pertaining to the File Allocation Desk (FAT), Prolonged FAT (ExFAT), and Digital (VFAT).
Then, in 2019, Microsoft went one step additional. It introduced it was “supporting the addition of Microsoft’s exFAT know-how to the Linux kernel.” Builders instantly began including exFAT to Linux. In Could 2020, exFAT was added to the mainline kernel in Linux 5.7.
That is essential as a result of ExFAT is predicated on FAT, one of many first floppy disk file methods. Over time, FAT turned Microsoft’s filesystem of selection for MS-DOS and Home windows. It might turn into the default file system for a lot of purposes. However, with a tough restrict of 4GB file methods, it is days had been numbered.
Microsoft prolonged FAT to bigger and flash reminiscence storage units reminiscent of USB drives and SD playing cards in 2006 with exFAT. Each FAT and exFAT are utilized in a whole bunch of thousands and thousands of units together with all Android telephones. Certainly, exFAT is the official file system for the SD Card Affiliation’s normal massive capability SD playing cards.
At present, exFAT stays an essential file system and, because of the OIN and Microsoft’s efforts, it is now royalty-free for OIN members. With over 3,000 members, meaning basically anybody who desires to can now legally use exFAT totally free.
Whereas that is the headline mission, OIN’s ever-expanding licensee now consists of patent danger mitigation for utilizing the core software program packages from quite a few different open-source initiatives. These embody Hyperledger, Apache Avro, Kafka, Spark, Hadoop, Automotive Grade Linux (AGL), Robotic Working System (ROS), KDE Frameworks, Android AOSP 10, Eclipse Paho and Mosquito, and others. All collectively the growth consists of 520 new software program elements, bringing the overall variety of Linux System-protected packages to three,393.
Behind this stands not simply Microsoft with its patent portfolio however many different high know-how firms. Its membership consists of Google, IBM, Crimson Hat, and quite a few different tech giants. Virtually everybody who’s anybody in open-source circles now belongs to the OIN they usually’ve introduced their patents with them.
“Linux and open-source software program proliferation accelerates the tempo of innovation throughout industries as software program turns into an more and more essential supply of differentiation,” mentioned Keith Bergelt, CEO of Open Invention Community. “This Linux System growth permits OIN to maintain tempo with open-source innovation, selling patent non-aggression within the core. As open supply grows, we’ll proceed the measured growth of the Linux System and, on the identical time, recruit extra firms into the OIN neighborhood to additional mitigate patent danger related to the usage of core open-source code.”
You can also signal on to the OIN license. Frankly, if your small business has something to do with growing Linux and associated open-source software program, it’s good to be a part of. It should present you, your programmers, and your small business with the royalty-free patent safety it’s good to turn into an open-source winner.
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Supply from www.zdnet.com