This week in open source

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OSS

The LinuxWorld conference is proving to be more than just a meeting of Linux fans and sellers. It's now a venue for all sorts of open-source advocates.

In fact, allies gathered there this week to prevent software patents from putting a crimp in open source. Red Hat will finance outside programmers' efforts to obtain patents that may be used freely by open-source developers, the company announced at the San Franscisco show. At the same time, the Open Source Developer Lab launched a project that will provide a central list of patents that have been donated to the collaborative programming community.

The threat of patent-infringement lawsuits has long dogged collaborative development, leading some open-source programming advocates to turn against the patent system altogether.

The new initiatives signal a willingness on the part of the open-source community to combat the threat of such lawsuits more directly--and within the existing patent system.

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