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Patent pools offer open source a new incentive--and a new source of power

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It's been talked about for years, and now there are well-endowed and well-researched organizations claiming to offer open source software some protection from patent lawsuits. The very announcement of these efforts--even before they have a chance to prove successful--are an historical watershed for open source and free software. For the first time you get back something tangible for open-sourcing. And this leads to another key change in the terrain: it now becomes critical how "open source" is defined, and who has the power to define it.

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