Free Software friendly patent pools
Posted Aug 17, 2010 21:30 UTC (Tue) by hingo
In reply to: Free Software friendly patent pools
Parent article: A very grumpy editor's thoughts on Oracle
I guess OIN qualifies as a free software friendly patent pool, but I don't know if the concept itself is a free software friendly solution. OIN is designed to protect certain products (essentially the list matches whatever is in RHEL and probably Novell Linux), and these products happen to be FOSS. But it is not a generic defense pool to cover FOSS software in general, for instance in the spirit of FOSS you could've expected a solution that equally covered GNU Hurd, OpenSolaris, etc...
As a more practical and personal example, a small part of MySQL, the client library, is covered by the OIN list. So now we have forked MySQL and call it MariaDB. The client library covered by OIN is identical in MariaDB and MySQL. My understanding is that we are not covered by OIN, just because we are not MySQL, even if the code is the same. (Come to think of it, all distribution kernels are also "forks" of the official Linus Torvalds kernel. I have no idea how exactly those are covered, I'm sure they are.)
OIN for sure is the best we've got so far (even if it's imho not that much). But a really FOSS friendly solution would be something that is generic and available to all FOSS software universally (or even just one license would be a good start, like all GPL software), protect the right to forking and not just the original product, etc...
I should say that whenever I've tried to look at OIN, I feel I dont really understand it, so I may have understood it wrong and in that case apologize pre-emptively.
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