It is no hidden fact that Google is a staunch supporter and a heavy consumer of open-source software. Through its various open-source projects, such as Android, Chromium and Go, Google has not only established itself as a market leader but also proved that open-source indeed is the present & future of software development and that being closed-source is not the only criterion for attracting mighty revenues. It has even frequently contributed to the Linux kernel codebase.
Apart from being involved in open-source through software, Google has been publicly promoting the open-source model through its various media channels and participation in open-source physical events across the globe. One such similar initiative by Google has been its affiliation with the Open Invention Network (OIN).
Time and again in the past closed-source companies, such as Microsoft, have threatened lawsuits against Linux and Linux-supporting organizations and companies because of alleged breaches of its patents. Some have even reported Microsoft as being a patent troll, a company which develops or acquires patents in order to look for infringers. Google itself has been fighting against such lawsuits to defend and protect its open-source initiatives. OIN was formed to fight against such patent trolls. It is an intellectual property company that was formed to promote the Linux system by using patents to create a collaborative ecosystem. Google, which was previously an associate member, has now joined OIN’s board, and by doing so it has become the first new full board member since 2007.
Announcing this news in a post on Google’s open-source blog, Chris DiBona said, “Over nearly three decades, what is now known as open-source software has benefited consumers all over the world by delivering innovative products and services. We’re committed to helping protect that innovation and are happy to expand our role in OIN.”
Linux now powers nearly all the world’s supercomputers, runs the International Space Station, and forms the core of Android. But as open source has proliferated, so have the threats against it, particularly using patents. That’s why we’re expanding our participation in Open Invention Network (OIN) — Chris DiBona, Director of Open Source
Open Invention Network was launched in 2005 and has strong industry support with backing from IBM, NEC, Philips, Red Hat, and Sony. Several popular Linux distributions, including Ubuntu and SUSE, are also members of OIN. One of the key benefits of being a member of OIN is that patents owned by it are available royalty-free to any company, institution or individual that agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux System.