Sun Microsystems is releasing over 1,600 patents as part of its decision to make Sun’s Solaris operating system open source.
Developers will have access to the patented code under Sun’s OpenSolaris programme whereby they can apply for a Common Development and Distribution Licence (CDDL).
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"As the largest business contributor to the open-source community, Sun has always been an ardent believer in open standards and the open-source process going back to the inception of this company," said Scott McNealy, Sun Microsystems chief executive officer.
"The release of more than 1,600 patents associated with the Solaris OS far eclipses any other supplier's contribution to open source."
Sun said that by releasing the patents it was also helping to address current concerns and increased scrutiny in US and international patent laws, which it said "have increasingly granted overly broad patents on abstract processes".
"By gaining access to these Solaris OS patents, participants in the open-source community now have a tremendous opportunity to build unique and innovative technologies for a wide range of markets," said Stacey Quandt, an analyst at Robert Frances Group.
"An IP contribution of this magnitude has the potential to deliver exceptional value to developers and strengthens the overall open-source community," she said.