The Neverending BlackBerry Story

By Scot Petersen  |  Posted 2006-01-30 Print this article Print

Opinion: At long last, the BlackBerry court saga is nearing its conclusion.

As they nervously fiddle with their BlackBerrys, users are now looking over their shoulders as a judge gets ready to decide the fate of the wireless e-mail service. Will the service really be forced to shut down? What will I do then? These and other questions are the focus of Senior Editor Carmen Nobels story inside this week.

For a long time, NTPs patent suit against Research In Motion seemed to be more of a nuisance than anything. But since the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear RIMs appeal, and now that a federal court hearing is set for Feb. 24, things are getting serious.
Im glad they are, because this story, dating back to 2001, has gone on too long. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which has the power to make the court process moot, has been slow in reviewing the alleged infringements, and although the office has indicated it is likely to reject NTPs claims, Nobel writes, a final ruling is still months away.
If NTPs claims are specious, why the holdup? For its part, RIM claims it has a workaround solution that would keep the service alive if the company loses. OK, then why not just deploy the new solution? Read eWEEK Labs Senior Analyst Jason Brooks story on the complications facing IT managers even if an alternate RIM solution is needed. The entire process has wasted court time and is stealing IT managers time in an attempt to find alternatives if the plug gets pulled.

Another story of survival, but one that is much more inspiring, is the latest eWEEK Road Map, featuring ETrades open-source strategy. Brooks recounts ETrades suffering at the hands of the dot-com bust, when trading volumes at the online broker dropped from 300,000 a day to 55,000 a day. With cost cutting a priority, ETrade replaced its Sun server infrastructure with one based on Linux. The deployment worked so well that open source has become more than just about the operating system, but a way of life. Now, ETrade is looking to adopt open-source software and practices wherever it can as it invests in the future of IT.

Also this week, Linux creator Linus Torvalds finally spoke out about the draft of the new GNU GPL (General Public License) Version 3.0, which was released for public comment Jan. 16. In short, hes not happy. Torvalds said Linux will stay under the GPL 2.0 license, LinuxWatch Editor Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols reports.

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