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May 17th, 2010

Happy Belated Birthday Groklaw!

Was it really seven years ago yesterday that Groklaw came into being? Time flies when you’re having fun (and at my age, it flies even when you’re not).

If you don’t know who or what Groklaw is, you’re either new to the open source world, or you’ve been spending the last seven years trying to find online help for your old install of Caldera Linux. Grocklaw is a legal blog started by paralegal Pamela Jones, who’s affectionately known as “PJ” by her legions of fans. In a prerecorded message at the Free Software Foundation’s 2007 Free Software Awards (Groklaw won for Projects of Social Benefit), Jones explained her vision of Groklaw as:

“…a place where lawyers and geeks could explain things to each other and work together, so they’d understand each other’s work better. [W]hen you have an idea you hope might work, and then to implement it, tweak it, and morph it, because other people show up and have ideas that are better than yours…and then have people you care about and admire tell you that what you are doing matters — I can’t think of a more satisfying feeling.”

Most of us know Groklaw best for Jones’ tireless reporting and easy to grok legal explanations regarding SCO’s extended legal battles over Linux with IBM, Novell and any other company who’s address they could find. In addition, Groklaw has covered issues ranging from the EU’s anti-trust case against Microsoft and the standardization of OOXML, Microsoft’s proprietary document formatting standard. Very recently, Jones and Groklaw came to the rescue when many in the open source world misinterpreted the intent behind a patent threat made by IBM against TurboHercules, an open source developer.

During the years I’ve been reading Groklaw, I’ve grown to have nothing but admiration for PJ and the tireless work she does for all of us. Happy birthday Groklaw. Thank you PJ, and thanks to all who’ve dedicated time and effort to help her out.

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

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