Microsoft announced on Wednesday that the company is joining the Open Invention Network (OIN), a group that provides a licensing platform for Linux of an estimated 2,400 companies. Ranging from independent developers to mammoth corporations, the coalition is a collection of companies and individuals who have agreed to offer their patents for use by the “Linux System.” Microsoft’s involvement in the organization means that it will, as a member, need to keep its promise as a new inductee not to enforce patent lawsuits.

This move means that the library of over 60,000 patents is free to Linux creators. All members of the organization can access any patents that OIN owns as well as other cross-licenses between those in the group as well. With lawsuits facing Linux and Android-related companies in the past (and the threat looming in the future), this is fantastic news for developers working on either platform. It will also mean that Microsoft will no longer collect royalties from Android vendors, which means the company will be dealt a serious monetary blow.

Still, Microsoft is determined to continue pushing its support for Linux, noting that this decision was made largely in response to customer requests. Previously, Microsoft had a reputation that lead members of the open source community to believe that the company wasn’t exactly doing all it could to make itself accessible and an ally to those within the collective. Now, this move should help quell those looking to the company to make good on its claims as an ally to the Linux community.

Source: Ars Technica

Photo: Katherine Welles/