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The Courts News

Groklaw Turns Ten 50

Founded just to cover the SCO/Caldera UNIX lawsuits back in 2003, Groklaw has proven itself a great place to read and discuss many of the major tech trials since. And today, it turns ten: "We made it. A decade of Groklaw as of today. Who'd a thunk it? Not I. When I started, I thought I'd do a little fiddling around for a couple of months to learn how to blog. But then all you guys showed up and taught me some important things that I didn't know, and vice versa I hope, and here we are, on our 10th anniversary, still going strong, together on a very different path than I originally imagined. The important moment for me was when I realized the potential we had as a group and decided to try to surf this incredible wave all of you created by contributing your skills and time. I saw we could work as a group, explain technology to the legal world so lawyers and judges could make better decisions, and explain the legal process to techies, so they could avoid troubles and also could be enabled to work effectively to defend Free and Open Source Software from cynical 'Intellectual Property' attacks from the proprietary world." This despite a smear campaign by SCO and nearly shutting down in 2009. And it's archived in the Library of Congress.
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Groklaw Turns Ten

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    "I can't believe that SCO bullshit went on for six fucking years."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 16, 2013 @12:12PM (#43741877)

    The judicial process has a lot of say-so in our digital lives these days. Groklaw is and will remain an important bastion of freedom when there's an issue of dangerous legal precedent at stake. I think it's a much more powerful platform than WTP, because most of the petitions on WTP are ignored or answered with a form letter and put to bed. At Groklaw you can contribute to fighting the folks who want a quarter every time you make a device with rounded corners, or every time you call fopen() on a UNIX clone.

    Oh, and: I hate software patents. That is all.

    • People complain that the courts are too powerful and that the laws are made without reference to what the people want, which is true to some extent, but websites like Groklaw make it possible for the people to know about what's going on and to meaningfully interact with the law, and to oppose legislation like SOPA. Hopefully, it will become harder for the people in government to try to pass legislation in the dark without the knowledge of the people.

  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @12:12PM (#43741883) Homepage

    It's always nice to have someone follow and translate the legalese for the rest of us.

    Here's to another 10 years!

  • Thanks for the fish (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 16, 2013 @12:15PM (#43741893)
    I read groklaw regularly and get a lot out of it. It chaps my ass that I feel like it is useful and helpful to know all that legal crap. (I just want to code.) There is a bit of a cult of personality over there on groklaw which can be off-putting at times, but Pamela has done a damn good job. Kudos to you Pamela. You have made a difference.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Anyone have a link to explain why she changed her mind and kept GrokLaw running?

    • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @12:36PM (#43742087)
      Well it was started just for the SCO fiasco and when SCO lost big time, there wasn't a need to keep it going. She wanted to move on like any of us. Luckily she found someone she could trust to keep it going.
      • by Xtifr ( 1323 )

        Actually, it started just before the SCO fiasco, and was originally unrelated. However, it quickly refocused on SCO once that whole mess started, and from then on, things went pretty much as you said. However, I think it's interesting that it wasn't originally about SCO.

        The oldest article in the site archives is about Grokster []. The second article is about SCO []. So, yeah, it didn't take long to shift focus.... :)

        (The articles are also numbers 3 and 6 respectively. I'm not sure if that indicates that at least

        • by Xest ( 935314 )

          I suspect given that she was new to blogging, that like all new people working with those sorts of web applications, 1, 2 and possibly 4, and 5 were possibly just test posts figuring out how to make certain things work and not intended for public consumption.

          I think few new sites starting out on a new CMS manage to preserve exact sequential numbering of new articles right from 1 for precisely this reason.

  • SCO (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JamesA ( 164074 ) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @12:32PM (#43742051)

    I wish someone would put together a final analysis of the fiaSCO and all of the players. There was a lot of underground activity that Groklaw did not cover fully such as Yarro, Robbins, the 'suicides', the message board trolls (Merkey?) etc.

    It would be great to see interviews from the perspective of the last rats off the ship and how they feel about the whole thing. By this time there has to be people ready to tell the real story.

    There's a book waiting to be written here.

    • I'd love to see a good investigative reporter pick up and run with the story. I'm afraid, though, that the folks who "know where the bodies are buried" won't talk.
      Perhaps if someone went at the story like they did in All The Presidents Men and just follow the money.

      Amazing to see a decent company ruined by it's own management.
      I liked Caldera and owned OldSCO stock before they made this ridiculous lawsuit happen. I got out before they killed the company.

    • There's a book waiting to be written here.

      It wouldn't surprise me if it was written by and for business schools as how to succeed in doing what SCO tried.

  • Jesus, can we name it something else than a word that starts with "grok"?

    That's such an ugly sounding word.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by i kan reed ( 749298 )

      But that word was invented by every libertarian's second favorite failed-sociologist turned successful science fiction writer. It's much better than letter our entire vocabulary be dictated by Ayn Rand.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You may have missed the reference to Stranger in a Strange Land [], and you may need to have your geek badge revoked, because apparently you don't grok with fullness.

  • Linux zealots will vehemently mod down anything critical of Groklaw or "Pamela Jones", so I'll just simply say that nobody with more than 2 brain cells to rub together would buy her story about being a little missing working in a small law firm who cut her computing teeth on Windows 95 then became a super-hardcore FOSS advocate after booting a Knoppix CD.

    • What does it matter who she is? Any one with two brain cells could see the SCO shakedown for what it was. She provided useful information and insight into legal matters that most of slashdot did not have.
    • Why not exactly? My father is horribly intimidated by computers but found Ubuntu a refreshingly robust and reliable alternative to Windows XP when I introduced him to it, and was intruiged by the FOSS philosophy. I have no problem whatsoever believing that someone actually interested in and comptent with computers could have a far more passionate response, especialy if they had an idealistic bent and believe strongly in personal freedom, which isn't actually all that rare among people who enter the legal

    • by MrDoh! ( 71235 )
      Oh? What's your theory?
    • Yo Maureen O'Gara, you psycho-bitch stalker! hows it going these days?

    • so the people (including a couple reporters more or less famous in IT tech world for decades) who claimed to know her or have met her were lying?

      you might want to loosen the clamps on your tin foil hat

    • Duh, duh, duh, duh, Darl . . . is that you?

      Or could it be Ke, Ke, Ke, Ke, Kevin?

      Which of the moron twins?
    • Take this post for example. Fairly standard Slashdot material in that it joyfully mixes a little prejudice with a lot of ignorance and a generous dollop of laziness, and adds a just a pinch of over-the-top cynical populist rhethoric to complete the coctail.

      Groklaw on the other hand combines a lot of hard work on fact-checking, reading the source materials, with actual knowledge of things legal and down-to-earth decency and simplicity in its choice of language.

      It produces articles that are helpful, well-

  • by LoyalOpposition ( 168041 ) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @02:10PM (#43743153)

    Founded just to cover the SCO/Caldera UNIX lawsuits back in 2003,

    Actually, that's not true. It was founded so that Pamela Jones could learn about blogging. It just happened to occur at the same time that the SCO debacle was starting.


  • by Pecisk ( 688001 ) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @02:13PM (#43743189)

    When SCO attacked first I was furious. I knew they lied, but really didn't know any additional details how these guys can be beaten. IBM decided to charge back. And then when PJ with Groklaw appeared, it was like we saw the light. At the beginning there were some nervous times, but everything turned out well. Then she started to blog about software patents and other legalese related to open source - and it was clear for me that it's not just PJ, it's community project, and it's here to stay. She also made us geeks not to be afraid from courts and lawyers and understand our rights and how system works.

    So, thanks PJ. Thanks community. IMHO without Groklaw idea of open source would be in much different place than it is now.

    • One of the facets that was insightful was the copyright ownership debate. The point of was what did Novell sell to Santa Cruza y years ago. SCO claims that they got the Unix business and the copyrights when they bought Santa Cruz while Novell says that only the Unix business was sold. So it may have to come down to dueling testimonies.

      PJ pointed out that Novell brought the actual lawyers who worked on the agreement to trial while SCO relied on people who didn't have first hand knowledge of the agreement.

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus