Just weeks after Red Hat closed its acquisition of JBoss -- the buy that took the software world completely by surprise -- it has been slapped with a patent infringement lawsuit concerning JBoss technology. According to one writer, the suit is the first of its kind against an open source company, but we'd venture to guess that more than likely it's simply the first of its kind against a profitable, publicly traded open source company that gets a lot of press.
More than the specifics of the complaint or what the allegedly infringing technology accomplishes, what interests us is the question raised by so many in the media and the blogosphere who are commenting on the issue. Why did FireStar Software, a five-year-old, privately held company based in Massachusetts, choose to go after Red Hat? One blogger suggested it's all about the money, but then pointed out that Oracle and IBM would seem to be more attractive targets -- their pockets are deeper.
Maybe it's not about the money or stopping the infringement at all. Some of what we've read suggests that the suit won't last because the patent being sued upon isn't even valid, and even if the case moves forward, those who use the JBoss Enterprise Middleware Suite (of which the technology in question is a part) will barely be affected. We're just thinking aloud, of course, but perhaps it's more about increasing FireStar's name recognition and arousing curiosity among open source users/developers.