This item has appeared all over the news in the last few days. It is a pretty interesting play:
IBM says it is providing free access to the information in 500 company patents to individuals and groups working on open source software.
The company said it believes this is the largest pledge of patents of any kind and represents a major shift in how it manages and deploys its intellectual property.
Open source software is a spectrum of programs, the best known of them the Linux operating system, that are not under the lock and key of a single company but are developed by the communal efforts of volunteers who often start with little more than a common interest.
IBM is trying to sell its business clients on using open source software instead of software from Microsoft, with the understanding that a business using open source will require outside professional help, perhaps from IBM, to manage its systems.
Open source software has made big strides in the past few years, with government agencies promoting it in nations including China, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea and Australia.