The current lawsuit by FireStar Software (Bad litigant, no link for you.) against Red Hat over the use of Object Relational Mapping (ORM , or the ActiveRecord Pattern could spell trouble for Ruby on Rails.
The gist of the matter is that FireStar claims to have invented this technology, and holds a patent on it (Patent 6,101,502.). While their patent dates back to 1998, there is some significant question about prior art and obviousness. If this suit is upheld, the heart of Rails would become vulnerable to a similar suit by FireStar.
Even if the suit against Red Hat fails, how many other patent infringement lawsuits are lurking beneath the surface? The danger of software patents has been understood by many developers in the Free Software world, but it's time to work harder at getting the message out and pushing for a change.
If you haven't gotten involved already because you thought it wasn't worth the effort, it's time to ask yourself "How much is Rails worth to me?"