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Red Hat was a founding member of OIN and were, along with IBM, the primary movers behind getting it off the ground. "Along for the ride" is somewhat reductive.

Disclaimer: Red Hat employee.

Though I did not know that they were the primary movers behind getting OIN off the ground, I didn't mean along for the ride as in they were last to get on, I simply meant "why they're participating at all".

The point stands, however, optimistically, OIN is a step in the direction, so RedHat is to be thanked. Pessimistically, this is a great business move for them, for the reasons I've already stated. Also, with Redhat's projects and cloud offering (betting heavy on OpenShift), I can certainly see how it would be great to not have to worry about the variety of parts of things they're about to dip their toes into (as OpenShift is basically data center in a box -- they can't afford to be tripped up by something as small as FAT32).

At this point, OIN is better than nothing, but no one has suggested to me why it isn't just a patent cartel. I don't disagree that it's beneficial to companies involved, but I'm not sure how much benefit it has to the community at large, or to companies that aren't inside OIN.

While I don't agree with software patents, if a small company gets a few patents on truly new/innovative technology (the idealistic goal of the patent system) it seems if they try to enforce their patents on any company in OIN they might have to face down all of OIN. On the other hand if they join OIN they have less protection if Microsoft decides to copy their product.

Again, I'd love to be wrong -- if this kind of situation is mentioned in any legal documents simple enough for laymen to read I'm game.

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