Page Two

By Eric Lundquist  |  Posted 2003-06-09 Print this article Print

Meanwhile, back in the middle are customers. "IT professionals understand the need to protect intellectual property. We also understand that large corporations sue each other to create bargaining positions that allow the opportunity to cross-license each others patents," said Gary Gunnerson, IT architect for the Gannett Company and a member of the eWEEK Corporate Partner advisory board.

"We have considered deploying Linux on a limited basis, but at this point, we are only testing. We may hold off on deployment until I see the outcome of the dispute, to understand the potential licensing ramifications," said another Corporate Partner, Michael Skaff, manager of IT systems for AdSpace Networks, in an e-mail exchange.

A deployment pause is not what the Linux community would like but is probably what it will get as the court system deals with the case. Despite all the blog postings and e-mail exchanges, it is worth remembering that the courts deal in facts that are allowed by a judge and heard by a jury. The motives behind a lawsuit mean little compared with what a court allows as evidence. Advocating that IT should go ahead with deployments before the courts resolve the ownership and intellectual property issues is foolhardy.

"The bottom line is there are many more bigger issues for the CIO to worry about that have real threats to the business, including security, budget and people issues. These back-room legal squabbles arent worth worrying about. When and if a settlement comes, just add that on to the price of the product, and life goes on," said Fran Rabuck, president of Rabuck Associates and a Corporate Partner.

"Im not interested in commenting on this, as it is so much like a game of corporate twister that I cant recognize the characters," stated another advisory board member, who requested anonymity. His visual of the corporate twister game is the most accurate depiction of the lawsuit that Ive seen.

Since 1996, Eric Lundquist has been Editor in Chief of eWEEK, which includes domestic, international and online editions. As eWEEK's EIC, Lundquist oversees a staff of nearly 40 editors, reporters and Labs analysts covering product, services and companies in the high-technology community. He is a frequent speaker at industry gatherings and user events and sits on numerous advisory boards. Eric writes the popular weekly column, 'Up Front,' and he is a confidant of eWEEK's Spencer F. Katt gossip columnist.

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