A Tangled Thread

Enterprise users wrestle with open-source mobile email.

February 21, 2006

2 Min Read
A Tangled Thread

4:45 PM -- Stefano Fornari and Jason Finkelstein have been busy lately. Tech support guys for the mobile open-source platform Funambol Inc. , Finkelstein and Fornari have had to respond to a deluge of emails on the Sync4j group on Yahoo! about Funambol v.3.0, which supposedly supports push email -- and could provide an open-source alternative to Blackberry, should the popular mobile email service be shut down as a result of the legal battle between RIM and NTP Software. (See Email Gets Open-Source Push.)

Suffice to say, so far, the Funambol solution has not been without flaws.

"If I can't set this up and get it running, we will have no desire as a company to pay for support," wrote one frustrated enterprise user attempting to set up Funambol v.3 for mobile email. (Ed. note: Names have been omitted as it's a members-only email thread.) "So by only receiving ONE answer to a number of questions I have asked, and it was an INCOMPLETE ANSWER, I am starting to lose inclination [sic] to go for the paid-for support option."

His complaints are echoed by a number of other Funambol users on the thread, all of whom are having trouble setting up their mobile devices for push email via the Funambol platform. A chastened Finkelstein responded, "I am embarrassed to say that you are absolutely right. Given the demand we had for the recent 3.0 release, and the several hundred tasks we had to address surrounding the release, we fell short on a few things."

These complaints are a part of the predictable hassle that comes with getting open-source software to run out of the box, as it were. But along with analysts' predictions of the high costs enterprises face in switching to alternative solutions from Blackberry, it's another powerful reason for business users to hope for a settlement in the RIM vs. NTP wrangle.

— Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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