What the Press Release Said
By joining the Open Invention Network (OIN), Microsoft is offering its entire patent portfolio to the open-source patent consortium’s members.
Open source changed everything. Customers have changed. Fifteen years ago, a CIO would have said, ‘we have no open source, they would have been wrong, but that’s what they thought.’ Now, CIOs know open source’s essential[…] Microsoft has always been a company by, of, and for developers. At this point in history, developers love open source
– Stephen Walli, Microsoft’s principal program manager for Azure
What’s happening now is that legal development and collaboration are catching up with technical development and collaboration. They’re now happening in parallel.
– Keith Bergelt, OIN’s CEO
What it means
The Open Invention Network (OIN) is a patent non-aggression community that supports freedom of action in Linux as a key element of open source software. OIN acquires patents and licenses them royalty-free to its community members who, in turn, agree not to assert their own patents against Linux and Linux-related systems and applications. (Wikipedia, emphasis mine)
- Does this mean that the patents were open sourced? (e.g. Patentleft)
If you’re not an OIN member, you’re not covered by its patent-protection pool.
- Does this mean that the technology is open source? (following the four freedoms)?
That’s not to say you can run out and build an exFAT-based file system for your USB-drive tomorrow with no consequences. Only OIN members have a non-aggression pact with Microsoft. If you’re not a member of the OIN, you still must license exFAT from Microsoft.
- Is this applicable to all of Microsoft’s patents?
If your program isn’t open-source or falls outside the Linux System definition, you’re not covered.
- Is M$ going to make Winbloze open source?