RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Frank Hayes, senior news columnist at Computerworld, pays a remarkable salute to Pamela Jones (if that’s her real name) and Groklaw today.

Anyone who has followed SCO’s legal battles against Novell, IBM, Red Hat, et al knows that paralegal Jones and fellows at the Web site Groklaw have done yeoman’s work for several years in tracking every minutiae of the complex case.

And as Hayes appropriately notes, Groklaw informed the world in detail how the SCO Group case unraveled in a Utah courtroom.

Linux and open source backers, such as at UNC-Chapel Hill, which provided Groklaw with its Web site gratis, celebrated the Aug. 10 decision. Red Hat Linux users could breathe a sigh of relief as the judge in the case eviscerated SCO’s claims to Unix copyrights and, by extension, its corporate belief that Linux infringed copyright.

Most of the media has had little to say about Groklaw, other than a passing reference. But Hayes goes out of his way to praise Jones and the Groklaw team for their efforts.

“It was the Web site that broke the news and posted the complete 102-page ruling; after that, it was picked up by mainstream media and trade press,” Hayes writes in his “Frankly Speaking” column. “In fact, it’s Groklaw that has covered every aspect of SCO’s legal fights with Linux vendors IBM, Novell and Red Hat and Linux users Daimler¬Chrysler and AutoZone ever since paralegal Pamela Jones started the site as a hobby in 2003.”

I heartily agree. Groklaw’s achievement stands as a tip of the hat to the finest in citizen journalism, blogging or whatever you want to call it. This case is vitally important to the open source industry. I say “is” because SCO is likely to appeal.

But to this point, Hayes notes that Groklaw “made it easy for reporters, analysts and deep-thinkers keeping an eye on the lawsuits. We just filtered out the partisan crowd noise — no mistake, this is a pro-Linux crowd — and dug into that virtual mountain of legal documents. Everything was there, posted, transcribed, organized and searchable.”

Hayes says he followed the case closely with Groklaw’s help, as were other analysts.

“Did Groklaw really have an impact on those court cases? Naaah,” Hayes adds. “The impact was on the rest of us. That collection of documents gave SCO’s suits a transparency that’s impossible to come by with most IT industry litigation.”

He concludes: “For that, we all owe Groklaw thanks.”