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The Courts

Eulogy For Groklaw 70

akgraner writes "When I got up this morning, the news was all over Facebook and the free software news sites: Groklaw, the site that was influential in the SCO legal cases, will stop publication on May 16. It's news that I hear with decidedly mixed feelings."
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Eulogy For Groklaw

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  • And in the end.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Monday April 11, 2011 @11:59AM (#35782404) Homepage Journal

    After Right won out, the soldiers returned to their homes, their fields and their shops. Preference for talk of the long bloody battle faded and was replaced by the need for a coat of paint on the house, the weather and cracker barrel politics. A memorial was placed somewhere, where those who remember the dark days could pay homage, but soon too the grass grew high and the leafs of Autumn covered it, all while a new generation ran with boundless energy in the park nearby and soon the heroes were forgotten, with what had passed before living on in the result of deeds.

    And the perfect setting for a new battle to foment on yet another front.

  • Look, it isn't called grok sco, it's called grok law. Why not re-purpose toward legal issues in general or at least some broad subcategory?

    • Re:grok what? (Score:4, Informative)

      by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Monday April 11, 2011 @12:07PM (#35782516) Homepage

      Look, it isn't called grok sco, it's called grok law. Why not re-purpose toward legal issues in general or at least some broad subcategory?

      Well, if you read her mission statement [groklaw.net], she clearly said it was for SCO related stuff.

      While we all appreciate the work that PJ has done ... she's free to follow other pursuits. She's invested 7 years in it; maybe she feels it's time to move on.

      • I never really read Groklaw, but from what I understand, they cover lots of issues outside that scope as well. In fact, it says so on the link you just posted.

        While anyone can respect her desire to bow out (she's put tremendous effort over the years into the project), it seems wasteful to just say "It's over, I'm closing the site" rather than to say, look to name a successor if she wants to move on.

        Other sites could spring up to cover the overlap of tech and legal issues, but why not use a site that's alre

        • It would seem that the site isn't going away but rather winding down the process of updating. They will complete their backlog of documents, publish, and then call it good. Book done; send it to print.

          I see value in that. PJ did her thing by putting Groklaw together. It served its purpose and made its place in history. And as long as it stays online, people can come back to it as a reference. Passing on the reigns of the site to someone else would risk Groklaw becoming something different than what

          • The Idea of Groklaw has basically been handed over to the community. As far as the current site i think the number of Law|Business courses that reference the site would like to have a fixed site to reference. Plus i think running the site has come very close to killing PJ.

    • Re:grok what? (Score:5, Informative)

      by fwarren ( 579763 ) on Monday April 11, 2011 @12:15PM (#35782614) Homepage

      PJ pretty much says it all. In 2001 the battle was SCO fronted by Microsoft trying to destroy Linux. SCO was attacking IBM, but was also trying to take out Linux with FUD such as the $699 per cpu Linux license. The battle was on the desktop and in the server room. Groklaw was there, and combat the FUD and the community was able to defend Linux from SCO.

      Now the battle is in the cloud and mobile space. Microsoft, no matter what conduit they work through is an attack on Google. Google is a large company with plenty of brains and money. They can take care of themselves.

      There is truth to this, Groklaw relied on our collective memory of computer history from the 1970s to the end of the 1990's. If enough of us looked over the details SCO presented, we would notice where they got the facts wrong. This "community" will not be nearly as useful in the battle over the smartphone and the cloud.

      All I can say is I enjoyed the site, it was quite a ride. Thanks PJ for keeping us geeks in the loop.

    • Re:grok what? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 11, 2011 @12:52PM (#35783002)

      I'm actually relieved. How many focused advocacy groups, when their cause has won its primary battle, face the same choice, and instead say, "what can we do with this new-found power we (think we) have gotten for ourselves?"

      A group that comes to mind right now fitting this is MADD, but so many groups kind of turn into activist HeLo cancers - they just won't die, and go on and on fighting at real or imagined windmills perpetually. MADD has won the war, but fights the battle still, going after smaller and smaller problems (or strawmen arguments) that in their mind are as big, if not bigger (today), than the original problem, even if they really aren't by most sane and sober evaluations.

      But maybe this is the normal way of humans - we get the prize, and want more MORE! Is it enough for Altoids to have curiously strong peppermint candies? No, so they create curiously wintergreenier mints, curiously cinnamonnier mints, etc.

      The Cold War is dead, so we need to create a new terrorism threat (that, honestly for the west, was far worse in the 70's and early 80's) to replace the Soviets & the Red Menace...

      • look. PJ was posting about the Hotz case only a few days ago. She was digging into details of Caliornia vs New Jersey computer law because Sony was trying to sue Hotz in California even though he lives in New Jersey.

        Now she just vanishes?

        There is -more going on here-. we might not be able to know about it, for years. but something smells wrong. Someone who is as brilliant and inquisitive as PJ doesn't just dump everything for no apparent reason. The site is not called 'SCOvsLinux', it is not called 'scovill

      • A group that comes to mind right now fitting this is MADD

        I heartily concur. MADD is now a temperance union whose policies appear to be designed to progressively create a new de facto prohibition era, while creating a veritable police state through the use of checkpoints and mandatory breathalyzers.

  • this is rare (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gothzilla ( 676407 ) on Monday April 11, 2011 @12:13PM (#35782592)

    It's common for people to create an organization to solve a problem when no solutions exist. Most of the time though those people keep going even after the problems have been solved. Greenpeace and PETA are examples. Their original goals were met and instead of going "ok we won", they just kept going. As they searched hard for relevance, their organizations become more radical and extreme in the process until they get to a point where they become a new problem.

    It's nice to see someone actually be able to quit when there's no reason to still exist. I'm afraid groklaw would take the same route as it tried too hard to remain relevant.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I agree with your sentiment, but how can you even compare Greenpeace and PETA? Greenpeace is still relevant and still fighting for the same goal they originally started out with. I'd say they are more relevant than ever.

      Maybe you meant Sea Shepherd, a PETA like organisation started by some people that got kicked out from Greenpeace because they were to radical?

      • by bmo ( 77928 )

        >Greenpeace is still relevant

        It became irrelevant when the French stopped nuclear testing in the Pacific. Now they're just attention whores.


  • It was also "all over" Slashdot...last week. Is this what happens when editors go on vacation?

  • by bmo ( 77928 ) on Monday April 11, 2011 @12:34PM (#35782836)

    ... but it's worth posting here, but without the aliens.

    Go on over to LWN and look at Florian's continued meltdown about how PJ isn't relevant and he is.

    http://lwn.net/Articles/437650/ [lwn.net]

    There's a lot said there that exposes Florian's true colors.

    He heaps praise on the people who spread the most FUD about Linux. Robert Enderle, MOG, Dan "Lyin'" Lyons, and Ed Bott led the charge in the media against Linux. The only person he left out to praise was Rudy De Haas ("Paul Murphy" pseudonym). I'm sorry, but the list of above people have nothing worth listening to and his defense of them shows what side of the fence he's on.


    • Ah yes. FM is there in force.
      Does he not realise that by always having to get the last word in weakens his position?

      Then he has the gall to call Linus just plain Torvalds. IMHO, every time he writes that it must be through gritted teeth.
      (There is not need to reply FM. You really don't have anything worthwhile to add to the debate. It has been said already.)

    • by HBI ( 604924 )

      Florian's just a paid shill. who cares what he has to say? Hell, the people he listed are all paid shills. If you can't determine who is paid to feed you company propaganda and who is not, the battle is lost with you anyway.

      If someone had told me in 1994 that Microsoft was responsible for the destruction of productive new technologies to preserve their bottom line, I wouldn't have believed them and would have disbelieved everything and anything they said afterward. There was tons of data out there alread

      • Nowadays, the scales are off the eyes of those who are paying attention. You still have to care, though. Same with Apple and Google et al.

        Indeed. I'm an Apple fan and have been with them since the late 80s, but not so much a fanboi that I'm blind to their issues.

        Bottom line: A big, massive organization with any significant influence and/or moving lots of money must always, always be watched. Apple, Google, Microsoft, MADD, the Gates Foundation, hell even the Red Cross and various multinational charity organizations. And of course government at all levels.

    • by Ant P. ( 974313 )

      He seems to have no shortage of free time to sandbag most of that thread with ego-stroking PR and vapid credential assertions.

      I find it more informative to look at which comments he doesn't respond to. Not even to say "that's false". The silence is deafening.

  • Thanks P.J. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    On a job well done. Many times the case was a PR campaign, and Groklaw painted the picture plainly from the legal briefs. Time to celebrate the victory, and victory it is, Its sad that a rogue bunch of idiots burned SCO to bankruptcy, as well as wasted a lot of time and money instead of improving a non-microsoft brand. But Groklaw stood as a beacon of clarity.

    Thanks again, in honor of what you have done, and the standard you have set for others to follow.

  • It's a sad day ... There's no other resource like groklaw.net. I remember when the site first went up ... Any suggestions on similar resources?
  • Anyone can understand why P.J. would want to move on, but it's a shame! The legal complexities surrounding FOSS and patents and games that Microsoft and Google play seem to be getting more complicated, not less, than the days when SCO made it's bold and ridiculous claims. (At the point that SCO started its anti-Linux campaign, that company was already starting to whither.) There's some good work going on at Silicon Flatirons in Boulder by lawyers interested in tech. Maybe one of them will pick up the hole

  • PJ was gracious enough to give us all many years or her life to increase public awareness of the truth, I suspect she is still quite overwhelmed with her famous anonymity.

    I hope she is moving on to do something fun, and not being made "an offer she can't refuse".

"It takes all sorts of in & out-door schooling to get adapted to my kind of fooling" - R. Frost