jbrodkin writes: "With Red Hat on the verge of becoming the first billion-dollar company focused exclusively on open source software, it has attracted quite a bit of attention — from lawyers waving patents. And although Red Hat fights lawsuits when it deems it necessary, CEO Jim Whitehurst says it's often just better to pay the trolls to make them go away. "When it's so little money, at some point, bluntly, it's better to settle than fight these things out," Whitehurst said. Red Hat has been forced to pay out claims to the likes of FireStar Software and Acacia, and Whitehurst indicated Red Hat has paid off various other companies behind closed doors. "Some of them are [public] but we often seal them in settlement," he said."