For those who think that software patents are not a threat to open source, read this interesting article on Patently-O about a patent suit against RedHat. The dispute is generated by US Patent 6,101,502, a patent for an ” Object model mapping and runtime engine for employing relational database with object oriented software”. The abstract reads:
A mapping between an object model and a relational database is generated to facilitate access to the relational database. The object model can be created from database schema or database schema can be created from the object model. Further, the mapping can be automatically generated. The Database schema, object model and mapping are employed to provide interface objects that are utilized by a runtime engine to facilitate access to the relational database by object oriented software applications.
Who writes this stuff? Anyway, RedHat is one of the big players, so it is a good target for patent trolls, but it is still a bad sign for open source in general.