Microsoft has just announced its accession to the Open Invention Network, which is supposed to be a big story in the open source world. Good thing. Open Invention Network is an organization that promotes the development of the Linux industry through mutual licensing of Linux patents by member enterprise organizations. In response to this important event, the Free Software Foundation, the pioneer of the Free Software Movement, is officially in office.websiteThe press release welcomed and accepted the issue, but asked Microsoft to promise not to claim for Android's use of Linux, and to further abandon patented efforts to organize free software development. The Free Software Foundation, like its founder, Richard Stallman, has a sharp, firm, idealistic, and bold style. The statement is equally fierce, and the Open Source Workshop translates it as follows.
For years, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) has called on Microsoft to stop using patent warfare to threaten and obstruct users of free software.DevelopmentThe appeals and distributors recently made an experimental success.
Microsoft's recent announcements on October 4th and October 10th that it has joined LOT and Open invention Network (OIN) are an important step in the right direction, possibly providing a respite for Microsoft's well-known billions of dollars of extortion on the free software ecosystem.
However, these steps alone do not completely solve the problem of computational idea patents, or even Microsoft's specific infringement claims. They do not mean that Microsoft has dismantled or freely licensed its entire patent portfolio. There are great limitations and exceptions in the LOT and OIN protocols. LOT only involves patent hooliganism among non practising entities. The non-infringement agreement of OIN covers only the defined list of free software, and any OIN member (including Microsoft) can be revoked by 30 days'notice.
In view of these shortcomings, the FSF welcomes the recent series of statements and calls on Microsoft to take further steps to continue to address the concerns of the free community:
Make it clear that Microsoft will stop filing patent claims for "using Linux on Android".
Microsoft should continue to extend the definition of so-called "Linux systems" in OIN's work so that the list of patented software covers everything in the GNU / Linux system. This means, for example, deliberately eliminating the problem of many software packages in the multimedia world -- one of the major patent minefields for free software. We propose that this definition include every package in the Debian default software repository.
Use royalties from past extortion from free software to finance efforts to eliminate patent damage. This can be achieved by supporting some of the FSF's activities, or by Microsoft directly urging Congress to pass legislation. If this is not done, the threat to free software may reappear as Microsoft's future leadership changes or OIN's own corporate structure and licensing arrangements change. For Microsoft, this is also the best way to show that it doesn't intend to use patents as a weapon against any free software, not just for specific software lists as OINs.
FSF appreciates Microsoft's entry into OIN, which seems to indicate a change in its attitude towards computing patent. Taking these three further steps will remove all doubts and any possible setbacks. We look forward to future cooperation to fully address the threat of patents to free software development and computer users.
The FSF will also continue to look at this situation and any signs that Microsoft intends to continue patent attacks in a way that LOT and OIN terms allow. We encourage any Microsoft target or victim of such patent aggression to contact us through email@example.com.
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Executive director of the free software foundation
The content of this article comes from the translation of the free software foundation press release.