Fast-growing Linux advocate the Open Invention Network (OIN) announces two licensees, KDE and The Document Foundation.
The Open Invention Network, a company formed to enable and
protect Linux, extended its community with the signing of KDE and The
Document Foundation as licensees. Patents owned by OIN are
available royalty-free to any company, institution or individual that
agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux System. TDF is the
developer of LibreOffice, a free office suite for personal and
corporate productivity, while KDE creates free and open-source software
for desktop and portable computing.
OIN has amassed a broad portfolio of patents, including patents held by
nominees on its behalf. These patents are available to all licensees as
part of the patent portfolio that OIN is creating in support of free
software. "We view an OIN license as one of the key methods through
which open-source innovators can deter patent aggression," said Adriaan
de Groot, vice president of KDE. "We are committed to freedom of action
in Linux, and in taking a license we help to address the threat from
companies that support proprietary platforms to the exclusion of open
source initiatives, and whose behaviors reflect a disdain for
inventiveness and collaboration."
Among KDE's products are a modern desktop system for Linux and UNIX
platforms, office productivity and groupware suites and hundreds of
software titles in many categories including Internet and Web
applications, multimedia, entertainment, educational, graphics and
software development. KDE software is translated into more than 60
languages and its applications run natively on Linux, BSD, Solaris,
Windows and Mac OS X.
By becoming a licensee, KDE and TDF have joined the growing list of
organizations that recognize the importance of leveraging the OIC to
further spur open source innovation, the organization said. "Given its
leadership in creating a user-friendly computing experience, including
its advanced graphical desktop for the Linux community, we are pleased
to have KDE become a licensee," said Keith Bergelt, CEO of OIN. "By
doing so, KDE affirms its continued support for open source. We applaud
their foresight in taking this step to support both itself and the open
source community broadly."
The OIC was launched in 2005 by IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and
Sony, and has since received supplemental financial support from open
software supporter Canonical. The organization holds the Commerce One
Web services patents (previously acquired by Novell for $15.5 million),
which cover several fundamentals of current business-to-business
e-commerce practice. OIN's founders said they intend for these patents
to encourage others to join, and to discourage legal threats against
Linux and Linux-related applications.
"The Document Foundation is a major free software project, and
LibreOffice a key office suite for creating, managing and sharing
documents," said Charles Schulz, member of the TDF steering committee.
"By becoming a licensee of the Open Invention Network, we fight
software patents - which stifle innovation and encourage predatory
business practices - and at the same time we improve the protection of
our software projects."
Open source CRM (customer relationship management) software developer
SugarCRM announced its membership to OIN in Nov. following the addition
of Mozilla, the developer of software applications including the
popular Firefox web browser, in Sept. The organization currently boasts
more than 100 licensees-- during the first quarter of 2010, OIN signed
40 new licensees.
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.