Red Hat will transfer control and ownership of the Fedora Linux distribution to a yet-to-be-formed Fedora Foundation, the company's deputy general counsel Mark Webbink told delegates at the Red Hat Summit in New Orleans.
Although the Foundation will operate independently from Red Hat, Webbink pledged that the Linux firm will provide financial and engineering support.
Fedora is essentially a developer preview version of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux distribution. The software is governed by the General Public Licence, and will be owned and controlled by Red Hat until the creation of the Fedora Foundation.
The move is part of a wider strategy to strengthen Red Hat's profile in the open source community.
Webbink also used the Summit to unveil a Software Patent Commons. Much like the Creative Commons, it will enable free collaboration and thought sharing among software developers without any concerns over patents, according to Red Hat.
The organisation develops free and public licences that enable authors to give up certain legal copyrights. Such a licence could, for instance, transfer a text to the public domain before the copyright expires.
In the case of patents, a Commons could allow individual software developers to apply for a patent while allowing free use of it for open source applications.
This would enable the open source community to build a patent portfolio which could deter commercial vendors that feel threatened by the free software from using patents to attack open source applications.
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