But that situation may be coming to an end with the announcement today that Microsoft is joining the Open Invention Network (OIN). This is also the best way for Microsoft to show that it does not intend to use patents as a weapon against any free software, beyond just that free software which is part of OIN's specific list.
However, the company is not making patents such as Windows' desktop and desktop application code open source.
According to ZDNet, Keith Bergelt, OIN's CEO, said that these newly open sourced patents consist of tons of technologies related to Android, OpenStack, Linux kernel, HyperLedger, LF Energy, etc. Despite that, Microsoft has made more than 60,000 of its patents open source.
Andersen's mention of "friction" is putting it lightly. This can be done by supporting grassroots efforts like the FSF's End Software Patents campaign, or by Microsoft directly urging the US Congress to pass legislation excluding software from the effects of patents, or both. In 2016, the company even became a member of the Linux Foundation.
Microsoft didn't get into specifics about how the new patent licensing arrangement will work, so it isn't totally clear if the software giant is ending any ongoing royalty payments from Linux vendors. We believe the protection OIN offers the open source community helps increase global contributions to and adoption of open source technologies.
Now, the company is really putting its money where its mouth is by joining the Open Invention Network (OIN), a group which manages a system of patent cross-licensing created to reduce the risk of open-source projects being shut down by patent infringement claims - with some of said claims having, in the past, come from Microsoft itself.