Chris DiBona, Google’s Open Source Program Manager, announced some time back that it (Google) is now a licensee of the Open Invention Network, an organization that wants open source developers to be able to focus on their craft without having to worry about getting sued. The OIN does this by acquiring patents, and then making them available, royalty free, to any entity; individual, institutional, or corporate, that agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux system. This, in stark contrast to Microsoft’s recent approach to patent infringement deals with the likes of Novell and Linspire, the latter of which sealed it’s alienation from the Linux community for it’s seeming utter lack of backbone. While I appreciate a company like Microsoft wanting to protect it’s interests, it truly is a myopic perspective to not see beyond dollars and cents.
At the turn of the 19th century, grand inventions of mechanized wonder transformed much of the world through innovation and competition. While financial gain was the ultimate end for much of the industrial revolution, the spirit of creation transformed nations. This spirit is again being borne on the winds of change. Continue reading