RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – The ongoing SCO-IBM legal case surrounding the dispute about use of Unix code is one of the most important legal issues facing the open source community has strong Triangle connections.

Not only does IBM maintain one of its largest software development operations in the Triangle, but Raleigh is also home to Linux leader Red Hat.

There’s more.

SCO, the Utah-based company that owns code it says IBM and others have misused in the open source movement, also has targeted the Web site “Groklaw,” which is widely acknowledged as the best online source for information about the SCO-IBM showdown.

Groklaw is hosted at iboblio.org, the Internet library created at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and now hosted at MCNC.

SCO has said that Groklaw basically has taken sides with IBM in the suit and is seeking a deposition from Pamela Jones, who runs the site.

Paul Jones (no relation to Pamela Jones), who runs ibiblio.org and teaches at UNC, has openly acknowledged that ibiblio provides Groklaw with free Web space. Also, chip producer AMD announced last week that it is donating two servers to Groklaw so access to the wealth of information stored there will be more readily available to Internet researchers.

The Skinny recently asked Paul Jones about ibiblio’s relationship with Groklaw.

He noted that ibiblio “supports over 2000 Open Content, Open Access and Open Source projects as well as hundreds of Open Source Software Projects at no charge.” And he added that the organization has very specific rules for working with outside groups as part of ibiblio’s global library mission.

“Groklaw represents the most lively and open discussion of the legal challenges and interpretations of Open Source Software,” Jones added. “When it comes to communities of interests (one of my particular areas of interests) that are enabled by technology and by voluntary cooperation, Groklaw stands out above all others.

“The recent gift from AMD acknowledges Groklaw’s contributions to Open Source,” he added.

Jones declined comment about the specifics of the SCO-IBM dispute. “I’m not a lawyer and not qualified to answer this question,” he explained.

SCO also hasn’t been in touch with him, either. “I have never been contacted by anyone who has claimed to represent SCO,” Jones said.

However, he noted that ibiblio would welcome SCO support.

“SCO would like to make a contribution to ibiblio, operators are standing by,” he said.

While Jones said that it is “hard to tell” if ibiblio could be drawn into the SCO-IBM fight at some point, he reaffirmed the group’s support of Groklaw.

“Groklaw is an essential part of ibiblio’s research and service relating to  Open Source and Communities on the web,” he said. “We have no plans to drop support for Groklaw or any other collection on ibiblio – short of some violation
of our collection agreement.”

The Groklaw-ibiblio relationship dates back several years.

“I can’t recall which of us found each other just now, but it was obvious from the start that Groklaw and ibiblio had and would find many mutual benefits in cooperating,” Jones said.

And at least for now, that relationship will continue.