That's just the thing though this is standard practice. This is how the patent system is supposed to work. What's astonishing, really, is the fact that these other guys failed to do due diligence in the first place and shipped product that tramples on somebody else's (in this case, Apple's) patents. What's even more surprising is the fact that, when confronted with this, those guys didn't alter their product or (more reasonably) just license the innovations from Apple. They had many opportunities to avoid a lawsuit, but they passed them all up. Which makes me wonder if they even have lawyers.
The whole purpose of the patent system is to protect inventions and innovations that, in retrospect, seem blindingly obvious. Lots of armchair lawyers have opined that this patent or that one isn't novel enough *but the fact remains that Apple was the first to think of things that now seem self-evident. And they invested a heck of a lot of time and money to think of them, so they're seeking protection through the system that's been in place for centuries for situations just like this one.
I have only the vaguest awareness of what "Ubuntu" us, but stipulating for sake of argument that you're right and that product also infringes who is Apple supposed to sue, exactly? Linux is a bunch of kids in basements. It's the IP equivalent of a botnet. Merely tracking them all down would be a huge investment of time and money, much less filing suit against all of them.
Agreed. I think that's the source of at least some of the grief about Apple from bloggers and on forums and stuff. I'm not trying to paint with a broad brush or anything, but I think we can all agree that the "gimme gimme" mentality does exist on the Internet, even if it's from a quarter that's small but highly vocal.