Obviously there are exceptions to what Microsoft is making available.
Microsoft has officially joined the Open Innovation Network (OIN) and will share their massive portfolio of patents with the 2,650 members of the community. We are honored to stand with OIN as an active participant in its program to protect against patent aggression in core Linux and other important OSS technologies.
Why it matters: There's been plenty of friction between Microsoft and the open source advocates regarding patents over the years. This group includes startups, individual developers, and the biggest tech firms in the world.
Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Erich Andersen said Microsoft brings more than 60,000 issued patents to OIN.
Microsoft is open-sourcing its vast patent portfolio. In return it expects that licensees do not assert their patents against the Linux community. The OIN embraces - as Microsoft has done of late - Linux "as a key element of open source software". This resulted in frequent clashes with the Android community and others but Microsoft is intent on leaving that behind.
The Verge added some things, like Windows desktop and desktop application code, will not be going open-source, though that's to be expected.
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. By pledging these patents to the group, Android OEM members of the pool should have that same royalty-free access to the relevant patents, which cover Linux and Android-related technologies. We believe the protection OIN offers the open source community helps increase global contributions to and adoption of open source technologies.