Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of WRAL Tech Wire and business editor of WRAL.com.
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – “Groklaw,” the website created and maintained by paralegal Pamela Jones to fight on behalf of Linux in court battles filed by software firm SCO, is shutting down.
Jones, also known as PJ, waged a fierce battle against SCO, a company that threatened the Linux world with its suits against IBM and Novell [for Unix]. SCO ended up losing in court, and Jones wrote on at Groklaw on Saturday that she was shutting it down.
“I know a lot of you will be unhappy to hear it, so let me briefly explain, because my decision is made and it’s firm. In a simple sentence, the reason is this: the crisis SCO initiated over Linux is over, and Linux won. SCO as we knew it is no more,” she said.
“There will be other battles, and there already are, because the same people that propped SCO up are still going to try to destroy Linux, but the battlefield has shifted, and I don’t feel Groklaw is needed in the new battlefield the way it was in the SCO v. Linux wars.”
Groklaw and Jones had connections to the Triangle. One of the effort’s big supporters was Paul Jones, who runs the ibiblio.org project at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Raleigh-based Red Hat, the king of Linux, certainly had an interest in following ther SCO fight. The Skinny contacted Red Hat last spring when the legal fight against SCO was largely decided for comment about the decision. The Hatters said they would pass.
Groklaw and Jones have made enemies over the years, but there also were defenders such as UNC-CH’s Jones who said he believed in what PJ was doing on behalf of Linux and the broader open source world.
Steven Vaughn-Nichols, writing at ZDnet in his Linux and open source blog, offered a strong defense of PJ.
Pointing out that PJ fought for eight years, Vaughn-Nichols wrote: “Pamela “PJ” Jones used her legal research skills, and the help of numerous others, day by day and claim by claim, to show just how baseless SCO’s claims against IBM, and later Novel, were. She also helped show how Microsoft financed SCO’s seemingly endless lawsuits.
“During those years, she was frequently attacked by people who claimed she was an agent for IBM. Her privacy was attacked by so-called journalists. Others claimed, and still claim to this day, that there is no PJ. That’s utter nonsense.
“Pamela Jones does exist. I’ve met her several times and she’s a friend. She’s also a very private person in her personal life and frankly she doesn’t trust SCO, or its friends, as far as she could throw them. Since she’s been stalked by them, I can’t say that I blame her.”
“The money behind SCO still have their daydreams,” she wrote. “But the world has moved from computers and desktops to mobile and the cloud. Now it’s Microsoft and all its venal little helpers and proxies attacking Google and Android. Linux back in 2003 had nobody to stand up for it. But Google doesn’t need our help. I’m sure it wouldn’t mind, but they have plenty of money and they can hire whatever they need or just buy it. I was willing to accept the threats and the danger and the smear campaigns I’ve had to experience when it was for the community. But I don’t feel the same, if I see I’m not needed, and I see it. Android has won. No matter what tricks Microsoft may pull going forward, the world knows now that when there was free choice in the marketplace, people chose Android, which runs on Linux, over Microsoft’s phone. Nothing they do can change that. All they can prove perhaps is that dirty tricks and misuse of the courts and regulatory bodies can distort the marketplace. But without the benefits of a monopoly, people don’t actually choose Microsoft phones, at least not in comparison to Android. All they can do about that now is try to force you to use their products. That’s in a way what a monopoly is.”
(Read the full blog here.)
(Read the ZDnet defense here.)
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