Did you know that there’s a body called the Open Invention Network (OIN)? And that their role is to collect patents and keep them for "Free" software projects to use? And that …
As it happens, OIN holds a set of patents covering a number of fundamental aspects of XML-based web services. These patents (originally assigned to a failing company called Commerce One) created a fair amount of concern when they went up for auction at the end of 2004; many companies feared that they could be used to shake down companies all over the e-commerce field. What actually happened is rather different: they were bought by Novell for $15.5 million and eventually contributed to the OIN pool. These patents, it seems, are considered strong enough to keep Mono safe.
Novell did the community (and perhaps the technology industry as a whole) a big favor by buying those patents; in the process, it beat out bids from a couple of "intellectual property" firms associated with Nathan Myhrvold. Donating them to OIN multiplied the favor by putting these patents directly into the service of free software. We may all be a little safer as a result of this action. §
Wow! That’s soo nice. I found the whole thing pretty cool. A proper offensive strategy than just being on the defense always. :)