Open Invention Network adds Microsoft's exFAT to Linux System Definition, Satan spotted throwing snowballs

AOSP 10 also popped into patent non-aggression pact

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The Open Invention Network (OIN) has expanded the scope of its Linux System Definition to include the likes of exFAT and Android AOSP 10.

Established back in 2005, OIN lays claim to being the world's largest patent non-aggression community, aimed at removing "patent friction in core open source technologies." It scored quite the coup back in 2018 when former Linux bad guy Microsoft signed up.

Today's news further reduces the patent risk associated with core Linux and the expansion includes 520 new software components, "bringing the total number of Linux System-protected packages to 3,393," said OIN.

While the expansion means OIN's licensee community will see patent risk mitigation associated with using the likes of Kafka, Spark, Hadoop, and KDE Frameworks, it is the incorporation of exFAT that will raise eyebrows.

Microsoft's Extended File Allocation Table has roots in the DOS FAT of old and, while outshone by the likes of NTFS, is more than adequate for a simple file system (and is widely used in memory cards).

The BSOD Bobs were rather precious about their patents back in the day, and many dollars were made from licensing the technology.

A change (or perhaps a growth) of heart within the halls of Redmond in recent years saw Microsoft first sign up to OIN before publishing the exFAT specification last year - a precursor to its inclusion in the Linux kernel.

A year on, exFAT is now effectively royalty-free for OIN members.

Patents relating to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) 10 are also protected, as well as Hyperledger, Apache Avro, Automotive Grade Linux (AGL), Robot Operating System (ROS), Eclipse Paho and Mosquito, among others.

"This Linux System expansion enables OIN to keep pace with open source innovation, promoting patent non-aggression in the core," said CEO Keith Bergelt. "As open source grows, we will continue the measured expansion of the Linux System and, at the same time, recruit more companies into the OIN community to further mitigate patent risk associated with the use of core open source code."

Indeed, as recently as April this year, OIN signed up Huawei as a licensee member. As of August 2020, the OIN member count stood at 3,300. ®


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