Sun plans patent protection for open-source Solaris

When Sun Microsystems releases Solaris as open-source software, it plans to provide legal protection from patent-infringement suits to outsiders using or developing the operating system--one of several ways Sun hopes to make Solaris more competitive with Linux.

Details of that protection plan won't be revealed until Sun announces its licensing terms for open-source Solaris in the coming weeks. But at an event here this week to announce the Solaris 10 OS, Sun Chief Executive Scott McNealy offered an example of how patent protection could work. McNealy mentioned his company's $92 million payment to Kodak to settle a patent suit over Java that could have affected others who ship Java products.

"You should have a company that can protect you and take that $92 million bullet," McNealy said. Sun also has an arsenal of patents it can use as the basis for countersuits against computing companies, he said, adding that "most people with network-computing intellectual property probably don't want to come after us, because we might go right after them."

News source: C|Net News.com

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