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Canonical, OIN's 1st Associate Member, Commits to Freedom of Action in Open Source
Tuesday, June 22 2010 @ 09:42 PM EDT

OIN has just announced a new associate membership program, and Canonical is the first associate member:
OIN Associate Members, such as Canonical, demonstrate support and commitment to limiting the effects of patent disputes in Linux. Canonical's activities and those of all companies seeking to adopt and use Linux will be facilitated as OIN works closely with Canonical and other companies that are supporting Linux's growth and expansion. Through the support of its founding members including IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony, OIN has amassed a broad portfolio of patents, including patents held by nominees on its behalf....

"We view Open Invention Network as one of the key methods through which open source leaders and innovators can deter patent aggression," said Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical. "We are committed to freedom of action in open source, and have noted OIN's efforts to actively defend and enable the Linux ecosystem. By becoming an OIN Associate Member, we are supporting the broad OIN mission and its commitment to enable and protect Linux's advancement."

One thing for sure I know about Mark Shuttleworth. He's brave. Microsoft doesn't cause him to cower in fear. And I'll tell you what I know about OIN. They know how to fight to win.

I thought you'd like to see the description of OIN's CEO Keith Bergelt posted on the SE LinuxFest speakers' schedule for the recent conference, where maddog hall, Red Hat's Max Spevack, Debian Gnu/Linux hacker Bryan Smith, Steven Dake, who was involved in the creation of the industry first Carrier Grade Linux software solution at MontaVista Software, and Joshua Drake, President of United States PostgreSQL, and a Director for SPI, the non-profit behind Debian, OpenOffice and PostgreSQL.Org -- with many others -- also spoke:
Keith Bergelt is the chief executive officer of Open Invention Network (OIN), the collaborative enterprise that enables innovation in open source and an increasingly vibrant ecosystem around Linux. In this capacity, he is directly responsible for enabling, influencing and defending the integrity of the Linux ecosystem. Central to the achievement of his goals is the acquisition and transfer of patent rights designed to permit members of the Linux ecosystem to operate free of the threat of assertion and litigation from those whose business models are antithetical to innovation and global economic growth in information technology and computing.
Bergelt is highly respected in the FOSS community, as is OIN, as you can verify by looking at the lists of those signed on as licensees. I see Florian Mueller immediately attacked OIN. Yes, again. He's wrong again, of course, and all I ever see from him is attacks on those working hard to protect FOSS from the patent threat. His complaint this time is that OIN isn't transparent enough.

You know who I think would *really* love OIN to be transparent? Microsoft. Then it could avoid getting checkmated by OIN next time. Remember, it was OIN who blocked Microsoft's attempted sale of antiLinux patents to patent trolls last year. Florian didn't do that. I didn't do it. You didn't do it. OIN did it. And he thereby protected Linux from an evil machination designed to tie Linux to the railroad tracks, as I wrote at the time. For this one act alone, the community owes OIN our thanks to time indefinite. Yes. Really. I'm guessing that is why OIN is now a target for FUD attacks.

Software Freedom Law Center has a primer that touches on why patents are not usually associated with transparency. In fact, when we all worked on the new draft that became GPLv3, the patent lawyers were reluctant to participate unless they were promised confidentiality. Mueller of course is not a lawyer or trained in the field, so he probably doesn't realize his latest rant makes no legal sense. But I wanted you to know. If I knew every bit of the planned strategy, I'd never tell. Seriously. Well, later I would, after it worked.

And I have a question. Who in the FOSS community *doesn't* Florian attack? Are patent threats coming from OIN? What is his problem? Why doesn't he focus on where the threats really come from? Think about it.

Here is the meat of the OIN press release:

****************************

Open Invention Network Announces Associate Member Program and Recruits Canonical As Its First Associate Member

New Associate Member Program Strengthens Linux Community and Deepens OIN Impact in Support of Linux's Growth and Migration into Key Emerging Markets

Durham, NC (June 22, 2010) - Open Invention Network (OIN) today announced that Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, has become its first Associate Member. Open Invention Network developed the Associate Member program to further strengthen the Linux community and empower open source leaders to ensure ongoing freedom of action for Linux as it relates to intellectual property (IP) rights.

OIN Associate Members, such as Canonical, demonstrate support and commitment to limiting the effects of patent disputes in Linux. Canonical's activities and those of all companies seeking to adopt and use Linux will be facilitated as OIN works closely with Canonical and other companies that are supporting Linux's growth and expansion. Through the support of its founding members including IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony, OIN has amassed a broad portfolio of patents, including patents held by nominees on its behalf.

"Canonical has shown great leadership with Ubuntu and it is an important participant in the overall open source and Linux ecosystem. By transitioning its relationship with OIN from Licensee and becoming OIN's first Associate Member, Canonical is once again demonstrating its leadership and commitment to Linux," said Keith Bergelt, CEO of Open Invention Network. "We are extremely pleased to launch our Associate Member program and have Canonical join as our first member."

"We view Open Invention Network as one of the key methods through which open source leaders and innovators can deter patent aggression," said Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical. "We are committed to freedom of action in open source, and have noted OIN's efforts to actively defend and enable the Linux ecosystem. By becoming an OIN Associate Member, we are supporting the broad OIN mission and its commitment to enable and protect Linux's advancement."

About OIN Membership & Licensee Opportunities Open Invention Network has three levels of participation, each of which helps to promote open source as a modality for invention and ensure ongoing freedom of action for Linux community members:

• Founding Members - Open Invention Network comprises six forward-looking organizations that originally created OIN with a mission of enabling and protecting Linux as it relates to IP rights. OIN's Founding Members include IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony.

• Associate Members - Associate Members are recruited from Linux-related companies, including those that are leaders in advancing Linux's migration into emerging growth markets. Associate Members make a commitment to the Linux Community by virtue of their commitments to and membership in OIN and help to ensure that patent issues do not impair Linux's growth.

• Licensees - Any company or organization that agrees to refrain from using its intellectual property against the Linux System may become an OIN licensee. Licensees benefit from royalty-free access to a valuable and growing portfolio of strategic patents, as well as from ongoing communication with OIN concerning Linux-related patent issues. In so doing, licensees facilitate their access to OIN resources such as Linux Defenders, which is designed to address patent issues with the potential to impact Linux. OIN licensees, be they founding members, associate members or licensees, contribute to an ever expanding community of companies that share a common goal of ensuring freedom of action in and across the Linux ecosystem. Through their unified commitment to Linux, they limit the negative effect of patent-based challenges mounted by companies antagonistic to Linux and open source innovation.

###

About Canonical

Canonical provides engineering, online and professional services to Ubuntu partners and customers worldwide. As the company behind the Ubuntu project, Canonical is committed to the production and support of Ubuntu - an ever-popular and fast-growing open-source operating system. It aims to ensure that Ubuntu is available to every organisation and individual on servers, desktops, laptops and netbooks.

Canonical partners with computer hardware manufacturers to certify Ubuntu, provides migration, deployment, support and training services to businesses, and offers online services direct to end users. Canonical also builds and maintains collaborative, open-source development tools to ensure that organisations and individuals can participate fully in innovations within the open-source community. For more information, visit www.canonical.com.

About Open Invention Network®

Open Invention Network is a collaborative enterprise that enables innovation in open source and an increasingly vibrant ecosystem around Linux. It does this by acquiring and licensing patents, influencing behaviors and policy and protecting the integrity of the ecosystem through strategic programs such as Linux Defenders. OIN enables the growth and continuation of open source software by fostering a healthy Linux ecosystem of investors, vendors, developers and users.

Open Invention Network has considerable industry backing. It was launched in 2005 by IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony. OIN has received supplemental financial support from Canonical. For more information, visit www.openinventionnetwork.com.

###

Open Invention Network, the Open Invention Network logo, Linux Defenders, Linux Defenders 911 and the Linux Defenders 911 logo are registered trademarks or the property of Open Invention Network, LLC. All other names and brand marks are the property of their respective holders.


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