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April 12th, 2011

An Era Ends – Groklaw Signs-Off

On Saturday, Pamela Jones announced that Groklaw is signing-off, that no more new content will be published after May 16th, which will be the site’s eighth birthday. She didn’t need to tell us why, we already knew, but she did:

“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.

“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.”


Those of us who’ve become devoted followers of Grocklaw since the inaugural post back in 2003 have seen this coming for some time, ever since it became evident that the SCO wars were over. We maybe hoped she would stay to fight the other battles that were (and are) sure to follow against Linux and open source, but in our hearts we knew she wouldn’t be around to guide the troops to other victories, for in her heart Jones is a person of peace, not a warrior.

Indeed, her peaceful nature was her greatest strength as she guided IBM’s and Novell’s lawyers through the minefields of deceit laid down by the likes Darl McBride and Blake Stowell. As readers, we got to come along for the ride, and from her words we came to know her as if she were a neighbor – a good neighbor.

We should all be proud of the work she’s done for the FOSS community, always presenting her facts reasonably and gently, and never coming across as a brick throwing fanatic, even when she was making clear her loathing for the mental guerrillas representing SCO. Always, she was believable. She could be taken seriously. She could never be considered to be a mere flamethrower, no matter how hard McBride, Stowell and hacks like Maureen O’Gara tried to paint her with that brush.

Jones didn’t start Groklaw to showcase her writing abilities or to exhibit her moxy as a paralegal researcher – this was no ego trip. Instead, this body of work came about because she was a Linux user who wanted to return something to the FOSS community. Grocklaw, a means of exposing SCO’s lack of case against Linux, was a labor of love. Now that the battle is over, Jones is ready to hang-up her keyboard and return to private life.

“No matter what happens next, I know that we changed the course of history. How many people get to say that? I never expected it, frankly, and I am grinning just thinking about how much fun we’ve had doing it. Our work will be available for historians permanently, so the impact we had isn’t over today, and someday we’ll tell our grandkids that we were part of this, part of Groklaw. We are in the history books. Our work will continue as long as anyone cares about this unique time period in the history of computer software, a history that we are a part of forever. And that is a long, long time.”

Good luck, PJ. We will miss you – and we will forever be grateful for your tremendous efforts.

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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