Microsoft and OIN: Legal Commitments vs. the Power of the Taboo

Posted by Andy_Updegrove on Oct 11, 2018 5:19 PM EDT Standards Blog; By Andy Updegrove
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By joining OIN, Microsoft is legally pledging to make 60,000 patents available to Linux System developers. But it was already subject to a far more powerful obligation.

Yesterday, Microsoft announced it was pledging 60,000 patents under the Open Invention Network (OIN) license. While the move was historic, it was not surprising. Instead, it marks a logical culmination of a path the software giant tentatively embarked on as much as a decade ago. That evolution gained significant momentum accelerated with the departure of Steve Ballmer, and accelerated yet again as the success of the Linux distributed development model was replicated across more on more projects, covering technologies as varied as cloud computing, virtualization, and blockchains.

On the surface, the significance of Microsoft's joining OIN lies with its agreeing to the terms of the OIN license. But in joining OIN, Microsoft may in fact be acknowledging the power of a far older social force: the community taboo.

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