Dan Gillmor: So here it comes. Microsoft has been vaguely threatening to use “intellectual property” against Linux, and now those threats seem to be turning into reality.

Microsoft has endlessly deep pockets, and its suggestion that it might even sue governments is an astonishing reach even though the company made it clear that it would spend whatever it took to beat the U.S. government’s case. Suing open source providers and users may be easier. Open source supporters, apart from IBM, which is paying millions to defend itself against Microsoft-supported SCO in an infamous case, do not. No matter how little truth there is in Microsoft’s claims, they can’t effectively defend themselves.

The patent system is a broken mess, and now Microsoft is looking to use it as we’ve all been fearing. So much for the kinder, gentler monopolist.

More here.