SAN FRANCISCO, LINUXWORLD, Aug. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The Open Source
Development Labs (OSDL), a global consortium dedicated to accelerating the
adoption of Linux, today announced a new initiative called the OSDL patent
commons project designed to provide a central location where software patents
and patent pledges will be housed for the benefit of the open source
development community and industry.
"The OSDL patent commons project is designed to increase the utility and
value of the growing number of patent pledges and promises in the past year by
providing a central repository where intellectual property can be held for the
benefit of all of us," said Stuart Cohen, CEO of OSDL. "Our goal is to make it
easier for developers and industry to take advantage of the good works of
vendors, individuals and organizations who may wish to pledge patents and
intellectual property in support of the community."
For many, the administrative and logistical challenges posed by granting
individual licenses to the growing open source community can be a barrier to
the formal licensing of patents. In addition, as more vendors such as IBM,
Nokia, Novell, Red Hat and Sun Microsystems pledge their intellectual property
to the benefit of the open source community, to date there has not been a
single, reliable place where developers and industry are able to advantage of
By contributing patents to the OSDL patent commons project, patent holders
can be assured that the right to enforce the patents is administered by an
organization dedicating to accelerating the development and use of open source
software. Developers can be assured that those patents will not be enforced
against them on open source software.
"Software patents are a huge potential threat to the ability of people to
work together on open source," said Linus Torvalds. "Making it easier for
companies and communities that have patents to make those patents available in
a common pool for people to use is one way to try to help developers deal with
While still in the planning stages, the OSDL patent commons project will
initially involve the following:
-- A library and database that aggregates patent pledges made by
companies. The library will also aggregate other legal solutions, such
as indemnification programs offered by vendors of open source software.
-- A collection of software patent licenses and software patents (issued
and pending) held for the benefit of the open source community.
More details on the OSDL patent commons project will be announced in the
"OSDL is the ideal steward for such an important legal initiative as the
patent commons project," said Eben Moglen, chair of the Software Freedom Law
Center. "No matter what your stand on software patents, and I oppose them, I
call on developers to contribute to the OSDL patent commons project because
there is strength in numbers and when individual contributions are collected
together it creates a protective haven where developers can innovate without
About Open Source Development Labs (OSDL)
OSDL -- home to Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux -- is dedicated to
accelerating the growth and adoption of Linux in the enterprise. Founded in
2000 and supported by a global consortium of major Linux customers and IT
industry leaders, OSDL is a nonprofit organization that provides
state-of-the-art computing and test facilities available to developers around
the world. With offices in China, Europe, Japan and the United States, OSDL
sponsors legal and development projects to advance open source software as
well as initiatives for Linux in telecommunications, in the data center and on
enterprise desktops. Visit OSDL on the Web at http://www.osdl.org/ .
NOTE: OSDL is a trademark of Open Source Development Labs, Inc. Linux is
a trademark of Linus Torvalds. Third party marks and brands are the property
of their respective holders.
SOURCE Open Source Development Labs