|By Maureen O'Gara||
|January 14, 2005 12:00 AM EST||
IBM, Intel, the Open Source Development Labs, where Linux creator Linus Torvalds works, and other industry lights are planning to rob Microsoft of the ability to scare customers off of Linux by saying that the operating system is a patent infringer, informed sources say.
On January 25 they will supposedly announce that a consortium has been created that will rewrite the components in the Linux kernel that, it has been alleged, tread on other people's IP - or at least the 27 Microsoft patents that Linux supposedly infringes.
The consortium will reportedly be underwritten by the state of Oregon and the city of Beaverton and will recruit its staff from local universities, which will also be backing the effort. The governor of Oregon and the mayor of Beaverton will reportedly be at the announcement.
The tactic is called "Operation Open Gates."
The Linux kernel supposedly infringes on 283 (unidentified) patents according to the wannabe insurance start-up Open Source Risk Management. The patents were reviewed by Free Software Foundation counsel Daniel Ravicher, a patent attorney who also runs the Public Patent Foundation.
Ravicher refused to identify the patents, in order that Linux users couldn't be charged with willful infringement.
Microsoft's patents are regarded as the most dangerous, although at least another third of the 283 patents are owned by other people with little to lose in threatening enterprise Linux users with litigation in hopes of winning a handsome settlement. The rest are owned by companies known to be friendly to Linux like IBM, HP, Intel, and Novell.
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