Docker huddles under Linux patent-troll protection umbrella

OIN prepares to repel tedious fools' legal droplets

Docker has joined an open-source and Linux umbrella that provides shelter against possible patent trolls.

The Linux container, finding favour in the cloud as a foundation of microservices, joins 115 packages protected by the Open Invention Network (OIN).

Joining Docker in the OIN shelter are Puppet, Ceph, the full LibreOffice collaboration suite and the Debian APT packaging tool.

Docker and co haven’t been on the wrong end of any patent-troll calls as yet, but OIN chief executive Keith Bergelt reckoned threats could come with greater use.

For “greater use” read “as more features are added and the code is increasingly deployed.”

“Attacks go hand in hand with success,” Bergelt said. “The more attention you get there’s more potential for infringement. These companies [patent trolls] are like flies around the flypaper – they are attracted to opportunity.”

Docker is, of course, a Linux container: OIN was founded in 2005 by IBM, Novell, Red Hat and Sony as a patent cross-licensing and non-prosecution project.

According to Bergelt, the inclusion of Docker reflects its use with Linux and critical importance in cloud, storage and security.

OIN now plans to extend protection to Hadoop, the open-source big-data framework next year. OIN has asked for input from Hadoop and Cloudera plus those at Apache administering the project. There are also plans to focus on Debian and add support for the Tizen, the Linux-kernel based mobile platform from Samsung and Intel which is now under the Linux Foundation’s stewardship. ®

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