To me, that says one thing: that Oracle does not care about open source, and probably never will while the present management and its culture is in place. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the action, and whatever Oracle hopes to get out of it -- money? influence? patent cross-licensing? -- the bigger picture is this: we can forget about Oracle as a friend of an open source. It might still occasionally work in concert with the free software world -- but always with ulterior motives; and as the Google lawsuit shows, it will not have the slightest compunction in making moves that damage open source in multiple ways.
So, starting from that premise, what can we deduce, and what actions does the free software need to take as a result?
The obvious, and easy takeaway is that software patents are utterly and completely destructive, and that they corrupt fatally anything they touch. There's a wonderful explanation from the creator of Java, James Gosling, about the root cause of Oracle's action, which flows from the time Sun was forced to embrace the insanity of software patents:
In Sun's early history, we didn't think much of patents. While there's a kernel of good sense in the reasoning for patents, the system itself has gotten goofy. Sun didn't file many patents initially. But then we got sued by IBM for violating the "RISC patent" -- a patent that essentially said "if you make something simpler, it'll go faster". Seemed like a blindingly obvious notion that shouldn't have been patentable, but we got sued, and lost. The penalty was huge. Nearly put us out of business. We survived, but to help protect us from future suits we went on a patenting binge. Even though we had a basic distaste for patents, the game is what it is, and patents are essential in modern corporations, if only as a defensive measure.
This is precisely the trajectory that Microsoft followed. Remember that before Microsoft went on a similar “patenting binge”, Bill Gates once wrote: “If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.” We are fast approaching that standstill, and the Oracle lawsuit is yet another giant step towards it.