Monday, Jonathan Schwarts, CEO of Sun Microsystems, wrote an interesting article comparing software developers and media publishers. He makes some good comparisons of the patent threatening tactics employed by Microsoft and the way other media companies have responded to the recent push for user generated content. He draws some good analogies between the two industries, but perhaps most interestingly he said:

Could we have sued them [opensource vendors]? Sure. Sun has what I'd argue to be the single most valuable and focused patent portfolio on the web (and yes, we'd use it to defend Red Hat and Ubuntu, both). But suing the open source community would've been tantamount to a newspaper suing the authors of their letters to the editor.

This is especially interesting in light of all the recent Microsoft saber rattling and FUD. So, now the open source community has responded, Novell has said “not so fast”, and Sun has called them out as well.  It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.