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Joining Open Invention Network

OIN is the open innovation network, a patent defence group set up in
2005 by IBM, phillips, Red Hat, Novell, NEC and Sony to create a
patent pool for defending Linux. 

They are now keen to have proper free-software people and projects
join up, especially in the Embedded space which is shaping up for a
big fight over the next few years as the incumbents realise Linux has
eaten their businesses. This could easily get dirty (i.e. have
incumbent vendors resort to their patent portfolios to hang on past
their natural time - (in the way that SCO did, although they tried to
use copyright rather than patents).

Emdebian is one project that might potentially find itself in the firing
line and joining the OIN license pool means that we get friendly
lawyers to call on should it become necessary. The price of joining up
is agreeing not to assert any of our patents against anyone using them
for 'the Linux System': i.e. adding our patents to the pool.

As we do, of course, not have any patents, this makes it an excellent
value deal from our point of view :-).

I've read the licence and it's pretty straighforward as these things
go. I've talked to Neil Williams (as the man who does much of the work
round here) and Shane Coughlan of the FSFE (and now OIN Free-Software
geek interface man) and I'm happy that this is a top idea, and that
the OIN people are a fine upstanding bunch, despite owning a dirty
great patent portfolio.

So, unless anyone objects violently, and can persuade us otherwise
I'll sign up on behalf of the Emdebian Project.

The licence is here:

General info on OIN here:

Principal hats:  iEndian - Balloonboard - Toby Churchill - Emdebian

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