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"Google is following IBM and Oracle in circling the wagons around open source Linux. The company is expected to announce Tuesday that it has become a member of the Open Invention Network, a group that pools Linux patents as a means of turning back any patent infringement challenge to Linux.

The addition of Google means seven companies have formed a bulwark of protection around Linux.

"This is a way for everyone to get together and look after Linux development," said Chris DiBona, open source programs manager for Google in an interview. Every user of the Google search engine is being supported by Linux, and Google manages its internal Web indexing and analysis of Web pages with systems running on clusters of Linux servers.