Nokia said Wednesday its patented technology may be freely used in the Linux kernel, making the Finnish cell phone giant the newest computing company to begin offering intellectual property protections to open-source programmers.
This news came right after Nokia published 770. Such a hippocracy. They are seeing the damage patents have on open source development. They are not opening their patent portfolio to open source community. - Only to Linux Kernel developers. Heisse is reporting that : "Nokia is meanwhile in the process of debating whether to make similar non-assertion commitments with respect to other open-source projects the company is participating in."
At the same time Nokia is lobbying for software patents in EU. I have not decided if this is just a cheap pr-stunt trying to collect symphaty from free and open source community or Nokia really giving a helping hand to Linux developers.
Update 30.5.05: RMS has made a statement that he is quite unimpressed. Anonymoys reader makes a good remark in his comment about the Nokias gesture.
"That is, since they are publishing the kernel source (and applications) covered under the GPL, they can't impose additional conditions -- such as keeping current on patent royalties -- on the use of that code. In fact, their obligations extend beyond their announcement. If I extract code from the kernel and put it in my program, they can't enforce patents on that either.
GPL does that. Nokia had to make the announcement. They distribute Linux hence any of their patents must be available to use with Linux under GPL. I guess that this might be one of the reasons why it has taken so long for Nokia to bring out Linux devices.
" If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not distribute the Program at all. For example, if a patent license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to refrain entirely from distribution of the Program" GPL license term 7