Steve Salvan, Inventor And Defender Of Open Source Coding

by Myles Tanzer

Steve Salvan is trying to save the tech world from Apple and Microsoft.

He is a engineer at Google who lives in San Francisco and also works with the Open Invention Network. The OIN is a group of coders that work to solve real computing problems for large corporations. All of their programmers use Linux — an open source software, meaning that the source code to the program is available to those who wants to modify it. Large communities of people form around the collaborative effort of using open source software to improve products.

Linux can be used to control thousands of devices over a small area by broadcasting commands and then decoding the responses. One central server (referred to as an “overlord”) was used to control the other machines (called “minions”). But companies wanted to send these controls across the world. That’s where Salvan and his team of programmers come in. He says, “Going along with the medieval theme, I realized that introducing the concept of a ‘vassal’, which would act as a middleman, delegating commands on behalf of the overlord to minions it directly controlled, could potentially solve the problem.”

Salvan’s patent on the invention is filed alongside the Open Invention Network so that other open source programers can use his research. Software patents are used frequently by large organizations (like Microsoft, Apple, Oracle) with intentions to litigate away competing products. Salvan says that “the collection of open patents held by the OIN seemingly increases on a daily basis.” He adds, “I’m proud to have made a small contribution towards
sticking it to Steve Ballmer/Larry Ellison.”

His invention is currently “being used to control server farms at several big corporations”. His patent for the invention is still pending but those wishing to check it out can take a look at
his Google Patents page. “Software patents are one of those topics that really get me fired up,” Salvan says. He plans to continue helping out open source coders and developing his own ideas in the near future.

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