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Groklaw Shifts Gears, Now Stressing Preservation 123

Posted by kdawson
from the think-of-the-posterity dept.
dan of the north notes a change of direction at Groklaw. Pamela Jones (PJ) writes: "I think we need to use this time to perfect our work and ensure Groklaw's preservation. It will require shutting down the daily articles and News Picks, at least for the forseeable future, but I'm convinced it's important to do it. One of the core purposes of Groklaw has always been to create a reliable record for historians and law schools to use our materials to teach and inform. ... I choose to make sure our work as fully reliable, comprehensive and, to the degree humanly possible, permanent. ... Groklaw's collection of materials is really valuable. I'd like to ensure that it survives. ... We've covered the SCO litigations since May of 2003, and it's the only complete record of this important phase in IT history."
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Groklaw Shifts Gears, Now Stressing Preservation

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  • by pjt33 (739471) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:42PM (#26348347)

    If Groklaw has the only complete record of the SCO ligitation then some court archivist should be looking for work.

    • by bostonkarl (795447) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:48PM (#26348445)
      Naw, it is just that SCO has made so many outlandish claims that there is a mountain of material to refute them all. Kudos, Groklaw. What an amazing blog. What an example of what online collaboration can achieve.
      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        It would be nice if they did a dump of their database or something and put it up as a torrent. Let the information be free. Even if someone mirrored the site, they would probably still go to Groklaw.

    • by Col. Klink (retired) (11632) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:50PM (#26348483)

      The record of SCO also includes press coverage, lawyer biographies, etc. It also spans across multiple litigants and across multiple courts in multiple jurisdictions. No single court will have a complete archive of SCO filings, and none will have press coverage and commentary. So yes, groklaw is the ONLY archive that includes the complete story.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @04:23PM (#26349047)

        In addition, many of the press releases, blog entries, etc. that SCO posted over the years have been withdrawn from their web site and/or revised.

        In many cases, Groklaw made a copy of the relevant pages at the time that they were relevant, so that later revisionist history could be seen for what it was.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by lamapper (1343009)
          This is the best reason for everyone to cache a copy of anything important they reference, as one day, someone will remove it from the web for a variety of reasons. Don't let the revisionist be the only view of what actually happened!
    • by whoever57 (658626) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:51PM (#26348501) Journal

      If Groklaw has the only complete record of the SCO ligitation then some court archivist should be looking for work.

      It is not that original materials are not available -- rather Groklaw has collected the materials from multiple cases, multiple courts and converted documents to text.

    • by IceCreamGuy (904648) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:53PM (#26348541) Homepage
      Oh yeah, I forgot, the entire thing took place in a single courtroom! Seriously though, while the court records will be very important, I think they do have a point, I mean there were press releases, public discussion and third parties involved. I think relying on the court record for a complete historical documentation of the entire fiasco would leave a lot out for future generations.
      • by MasterOfMagic (151058) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:57PM (#26348607) Journal

        Not to mention analysis, reaction, and discussion. No court record includes that.

        • What kind of education would future law students get if the relevant discussions from this very forum were not archived and available?

      • ...would leave a lot out for future generations.

        The only people I can imagine that would be interested in such detailed material would be those studying law. As such I imagine the useful lifetime will be rather short, 100 years max, because laws change significantly on such timescales.

        • by lamapper (1343009)
          Or some entity that is unfortunate enough to go through the same experience, forced on them by another entity's assertions. Definitely might help to hon your own rebuttal and/or arguments one day.
  • Im troubled (Score:2, Interesting)

    by slugtastic (1437569)
    Will be there something to cover after the SCO trial is over?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by SpaceLifeForm (228190)
      Which trial are you referring to? There are multiple cases still pending.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by slugtastic (1437569)
        There are cases in pending? I'm afraid SCO lawyers are going to be involved in mass suicide after the current trial is over.
        • by micheas (231635)

          We can only hope,

          But unfortunately we are more likely to have them appointed to the Attorney General's office than commit suicide.

      • Re:Im troubled (Score:5, Insightful)

        by badasscat (563442) <`basscadet75' `at' `yahoo.com'> on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @05:29PM (#26350065)

        Which trial are you referring to? There are multiple cases still pending.

        What cases? The only one that matters, SCO already lost. They do not own the copyrights that everything else rests on.

        They're appealing that, but a decision already exists. And given that, there are no cases currently "pending" that I know of - Novell had already waived IBM's licensing responsibilities, and they reiterated that after winning their case against SCO. So SCO has no basis on which to sue IBM. And they owe Novell a bunch of money - probably more than they can afford and stay in business.

        There might be a few minor claims remaining related to financial things that SCO has against IBM, but it's no longer a major case even if so. More of a minor business dispute.

        If SCO somehow wins its appeal, then sure. But the one case upon which everything else hinges is already decided; it would need to actually be overturned for any other cases to go forward. And judges don't like to overturn other judges without a really good reason. (And as PJ points out, it's not like SCO can present any further evidence - the new judge looks at the same evidence.)

        • Link [groklaw.net]
        • by jjohn_h (674302)

          >>> What cases? The only one that matters, SCO already lost. They do not own the copyrights that everything else rests on. >>>

          No, the IBM case is not based on copyrights. SCO concedes that IBM contributions to the Linux kernel were IBM own code but they insist that IBM *needed* SCO's permission to contribute. Contractual issue.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jonbryce (703250)

      I would like to hope that they cover software patent cases, RIAA/MPAA cases and any other relevant technology law cases that might come up in the future.

    • Will be there something to cover after the SCO trial is over?

      Sure.

      We'll need somewhere to discuss the antics of whatever proxy Microsoft chooses to use next.

  • SCO Who? (Score:4, Informative)

    by WillRobinson (159226) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:46PM (#26348411) Journal

    While the corpse is still twitching, we are waiting for the formal burning, so its good that Groklaw keep up with the formalities.

    And while it has been good to follow along, I agree it will be more for academia than for the casual web user.

    Good Luck to PJ.

  • by halivar (535827) <bfelger.gmail@com> on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @03:58PM (#26348627) Homepage

    Those were halcyon days, back when Groklaw was in eveyr technorati's bookmarks, and all nerd-rage found a unifying enemy in SCO. 6 years later, Linux is free and clear, the Alex de Tocqueville institute is forgotten, as is Dan Lyons, Daniel Wallace, Maureen O'Gara, the Yankee Group, and the guy who did tech news and SCO-shilling who is so forgotten I can't even find him on Google anymore (a testament to how old this stuff is: I read about him every day and I can't even remember or find his name).

    Back then, it was the few and informed fighting against the ignorance of an entire market of empty-headed, buzzword-filled suits. It stoked my ego to have a "cause" to fight for, even if it was exclusively by arguing with trolls on the internet.

    But the job's done. I'm not aware of any rampant corporate FOSS-phobia (every big player's got their hands in the pot, now). SCO's dead. Linux lives. And it survives merely on its merits, not because of any inherent philosophical superiority. Technorati and business pro's alike (it's a Venn diagram; I know) choose the best tool for the job. The old arguments are, for the most part, dead.

    I think the end of Groklaw as a significant force in FOSS started around the time of the "GrokWars." It's obvious to me that if allies have enough time to fight each other (over stupid stuff, at that), then whatever common enemy it was that held them together is either dead or irrelevant.

    While Groklaw had some significant voice in the GPL v3 debate, I think that was its last hurrah. Today, we simply don't need Groklaw anymore.

    Of course, I would call that success of mission.

    • by Etrias (1121031) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @04:18PM (#26348961)

      ...and SCO-shilling who is so forgotten I can't even find him on Google anymore

      Could it be that you refer to Rob Enderle? Interesting, but old bit about him here [tgdaily.com]

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by halivar (535827)

        You got it! Rob Enderle, complete tool-bag.

        • by Sique (173459)

          You should give him at least the chance and read what he was writing. In Germany, there is a saying: "Eines Mannes Rede ist keines Mannes Rede, man muss sie hoeren alle beede" (One man's word is none man's word, you have to listen to both).
          If the story of death threats he got is only half true, there would have to be much begging for excusion by some people.

          • by jbolden (176878)

            I read what he had to say. I can believe every word of his claims and consider himself unfit to do journalism. He basically says he got attacked publicly for saying really stupid stuff so he doubled down. He admits to essentially making claims based on no evidence because he was emotionally worked up.

            When he got strongly attacked he owed it to his readers to double and triple check his facts. His articles from 2002-7 on the SCO claims and open source were simply stupid. Once he became a major figure he

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Rob Enderl's wikipedia [wikipedia.org] history is entertaining, going from long and critical [wikipedia.org] to short and sweet [wikipedia.org] in one revision.

          As is often case for controversial subjects, the Wikipedia history tells a better story than current entry itself.
      • Having read through that piece, I can only come to one conclusion:

        I have discovered through your cite just how much of a whiny, immature, self-loving, responsibility-avoiding asshat Rob Enderle really is...

        Bleah.

        /P

      • by roman_mir (125474)

        Just read that 'article', what a douche bag this guy is. He attacks people, calls them idiots and such, gets back what he deserves, then he is forced to admit he was a douche bag, but you know, he is too hurt by all those 'criminals'. Why are they criminals, because of their death threats?

        Notice that in that entire 'article' there was nothing mentioned about SCO acting criminally. Aren't SCO criminals? Well, I guess SCO didn't issue any empty death threats to anyone.... Oh, wait! [groklaw.net].

        Yes, there are assholes

    • by bigstrat2003 (1058574) * on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @04:21PM (#26348999)

      I think the end of Groklaw as a significant force in FOSS.... Today, we simply don't need Groklaw anymore.

      There's no law that says that Groklaw has to have anything to do with FOSS. It can live on just fine as a site which covers legal developments of interest to its geeky audience... and yes, we do need that. Badly. There is no such thing as too many sources providing clear and level-headed coverage of what's going on in our legal system.

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        There's no law that says that Groklaw has to have anything to do with FOSS.

        The only other legal thing Slashdottians are interested in is stealing music, and NewYorkCountryLawyer has that sewn up.

      • by jmorris42 (1458) *

        > It can live on just fine as a site which covers legal developments of interest to its geeky audience...

        But apparently has no intention of doing that. Starting to look like SCO was right for once, Groklaw was funded to fight IBM's side outside the courthouse. Their own Nazgul were more than capable of handling things inside court but the fight wasn't ever going to really be there, this was a FUD war in the press and Groklaw could do that with far more freedom of action than IBM's official PR machinery

        • by jbolden (176878)

          The tech public was openly siding with IBM. IBM could have much more effectively gathered witnesses and checked facts themselves. They are perfectly allowed to hold open meetings with the people who came forward and self deposed.

    • by wrecked (681366) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @04:33PM (#26349199)
      While it's novelty may have faded, this is hardly a "post-Groklaw" web now. "Post-SCO", maybe. Groklaw is still one of the best sites for litigation analysis that I have seen (and yes, IAAL). While the SCO wars may have created Groklaw, Groklaw has covered other "intellectual property" issues such as the ODF/OOXML disputes.
    • and all nerd-rage found a unifying enemy in SCO.

      Don't you mean that all nerd-rage was distracted from Microsoft's attacks by the front organisation that was SCO?

    • Alex de Tocqueville institute is forgotten, as is Dan Lyons, Daniel Wallace, Maureen O'Gara, the Yankee Group,

      Funny, just yesterday someone on slashdot was linking to a security book written by a "senior analyst" at Yankee Group.

    • by Raenex (947668)

      Those were halcyon days, back when Groklaw was in eveyr technorati's bookmarks, and all nerd-rage found a unifying enemy in SCO.

      Not being familiar with the word "halcyon", I looked it up and got: "1. Calm and peaceful; tranquil. 2. Prosperous; golden: halcyon years."

      I don't think that has quite the intended meaning for a time of war.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by sdkit (708082)

      ...the Alex de Tocqueville institute is forgotten, as is Dan Lyons,...

      That's not entirely accurate. Dan Lyons went on to become Fake Steve Jobs and you could argue he's more famous now than then.

    • by jbolden (176878)

      There will be many more lawsuits. For example with KDE there are substantial questions of standing to file a lawsuit against GPL violations, the kernel may have similar problems. As open source code has gotten all over the web in example which are getting "cut and pasted" there are going to be huge lawsuits about what exactly is a derived work.

      Right now the legal world is quiet. Enjoy it won't last.

    • the Alex de Tocqueville institute is forgotten, as is Dan Lyons...

      Lyons actually went on to create the mega-popular Fake Steve Jobs blog [wikipedia.org], which he spun into a book deal [amazon.com]. So it's a bit of a reach to call him "forgotten".

  • you backup and archive the site on a daily (hourly) basis and continue to post articles. Why shutdown the whole thing? This makes no sense. Maybe they're taking some cues from \.-sister site, Linux.com.
  • Accuracy (Score:5, Funny)

    by troll8901 (1397145) <troll8901@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @04:04PM (#26348731) Journal

    PJ said in the first interview [linux.org] (31 July 2003):

    "I was forever reading Slashdot comments about legal news and most of the comments would be way off..."

    I'm shocked!

  • Doesn't this lend credit to the idea that perhaps PJ was hired solely to cover the SCO trial?

    Was her mysterious identity ever uncovered?
    • The accusation was that she was an operative for IBM. SCO v. IBM still exists -- although if the judgment on the Novell case stands, not for long.
    • by burning-toast (925667) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @04:35PM (#26349233)

      Doesn't this lend credit to the idea that perhaps PJ was hired solely to cover the SCO trial?

      Was her mysterious identity ever uncovered?

      Why in hell should a person subject their identity and private information to the whim of the trolls on the Internet in any capacity, just to "prove" they aren't hiding something sinister? Try proving there WAS something sinister, I'll certainly take that complaint more credibly.

      Internet anonymity is here to stay (as it should be) as there is no proof positive way to identify other Internet going users without subjecting them to very real risks in meat-space (stalkers, or worse). Come to think of it there are very very few ways to positively identify people in meat-space (even with fingerprints and SSN cards) let alone verify their intentions...

      It is ALWAYS up to you, the reader, browser, and consumer to attempt to determine truth and fiction based on your own balance of values, experiences, and interpretations. Use your own trust network to find that out for yourself. Come back and stir the pot once you have something more legitimate than a suspicion about someone else's suspicion about someone else's theory. Second hand truth is better than third hand theory in my opinion.

      If you think there is bias in her reporting then go ahead and think there is bias in her reporting. Seek another truth if you believe it to exist. However, in that same stroke, the air of credibility seems to be on PJ's side to many many people. I have found minimal reason to be concerned personally with whether or not she WAS hired. I'm just glad to be informed of her take on the matter.

      However, you are perfectly free to be paranoid about her identity all you like, but expecting her identity to be proven in an environment of suspicion is just stupidity. Being proven so you feel better about it is simple idiocy.

      Fanatics and conspiracy nuts will always be good at inadvertently burying the truth when it comes out in a sea of accusations anyways because people are blinded by their opinions. So what does it matter? The truth could already have been said.

      - Toast

      P.S. Nothing personal, I'm having my second Monday of the week here at work...

      • by Raenex (947668)

        Internet anonymity is here to stay

        And so is the desire to remove anonymity. Both are acceptable.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by burning-toast (925667)

          And so is the desire to remove anonymity. Both are acceptable.

          Anonymity should be an even exchange for credibility as I see it. Since you could meet me in meat-space and I could lie to you about everything from my identity down to my intentions what can you prove simply by knowing my "name" or "address"? Hell, I could even gather up some paid "friends" to spread some good rumors about what my intentions are too (just for good measure). Volunteering your real identity to add credibility to something you say is nothing more than a token gesture to me. The rest of what y

          • by Raenex (947668)

            You are only presenting one side. Yes, any system can be gamed, and knowing someone's identity isn't a guarantee of anything. Sometimes it can even be a disadvantage if we unfairly judge what somebody says just because of who they are.

            On the other hand, identities are practical knowledge that people put to use every day in making judgments. If somebody has a history of lying I will be less likely to trust them. If they have ulterior motives it is useful to know them. Even pseudo-anonymity has some bene

            • t wasn't my intention to actually debate this with anyone in particular, however it seems we actually do have a small but functional debate specifically since neither of us are caught up in trying to identify each other to try to prove ill intentions. Rather, we are debating the actual merits of each others opinion on the topic at hand, regardless of the fact that neither of us are readily identifiable.

              Also, Bush is a readily identifiable public figure with a verifiable past of misleading the general public

              • by Raenex (947668)

                Bush was just an obvious example. There are plenty more, like the Cisco "Troll Tracker" guy, Sony astroturfing, or CEO John Mackey of Whole Foods talking about his company stock. Knowing the identity of these previously anonymous players is interesting and useful information.

                That doesn't mean information shouldn't be vetted in other ways, nor does the identity of the speaker automatically disqualify what was said, but the desire to know identities will not nor should it go away.

                • I will agree with your statement but would you also agree that in situations like whistle blowers, 3rd party reporting of cases such as the position P.J. is in, newspaper sources for inside stories, and other circumstances where real harm could come to a person whose anonymity becomes compromised in general, it might be a good idea to leave anonymous enough alone and attempt to judge it upon it's merits of argument instead of the source?

                  - Toast

            • by blueskies (525815)

              On the other hand, identities are practical knowledge that people put to use every day in making judgments.

              You are correct. However, why don't we let the person on the internet choose if they want to be anonymous or not and let the reader determine the credibility of anonymous persons on the internet?

              As for protecting your safety, I submit that is far overblown. Lots of people use their real names online. Actual attacks are rare.

              I would temper your statement with the fact that the people who use their rea

              • by Raenex (947668)

                You are correct. However, why don't we let the person on the internet choose if they want to be anonymous or not and let the reader determine the credibility of anonymous persons on the internet?

                We do. As far as I know, there is no crime for posting anonymously, at least in the United States. However, people are also free to speculate on the identity of posters. How can it be any other way in a free society? When Sony astroturfs their PSP, isn't it a good thing when they are outed? If I spread libelous information about you and your family that ended up causing you harm, wouldn't you want the option of trying to find out my identity?

                They filter what they say or choose to not bring up topics that might lead to repercussions (harm and safety not being limited to physical harm).

                Even those who say some pretty miserable and nasty things in

                • by blueskies (525815)

                  And so is the desire to remove anonymity. Both are acceptable.

                  I was assuming you were saying it isn't important because of this comment. There have been some public figures stating that there should be no anonymity on the internet.

                  The people that should be held accountable for libel are those that provide "credibility escalation" (like privilege escalation) by reporting on the rumors giving them the appearance of more weight.

      • by astralbat (828541)

        Why in hell should a person subject their identity and private information to the whim of the trolls on the Internet in any capacity, just to "prove" they aren't hiding something sinister? Try proving there WAS something sinister, I'll certainly take that complaint more credibly.

        You've got the wrong end of the stick entirely. I wasn't suggesting that she reveal her identity. I was merely outlining an alternative truth. Personally, I can choose and decide for myself what to believe and I'm nothing like a "conspiracy nut" as you so delicately put it. The fact of the matter is Groklaw is quite an extensive source when it comes to the SCO case details. Perhaps it's just a blog, but some people might see it as more than that.

        Let's suppose for a moment that she was/is under some kind

        • Let's suppose for a moment that she was/is under some kind of financial agreement with IBM, then that changes things entirely. I am by no means suggesting this is the case but regarding it as a possibility - especially given the bias in her posts.

          I am curious as to what changes entirely even if she is hired. Maybe you are on to something, but convincing me that she was hired along does not prove anything to me at all. Are there holes where her opinion does not meet fact which would severely change a readers opinion? If so, where?

          Maybe my post was trolling, but it's something I have the right to do and you should not undermine. Something more constructive towards the debate would have been appreciated rather than contempt and mockery.

          I will apologize in that you seem to have taken my post to be directed at you instead of your argument. That was not my intention.

          Here is my side: If you are going to insinuate that someone relatively anonymous has ulterior

    • by fermion (181285)
      Of, if this is true, what does it matter? PR firms, lawyers, etc are not by definition bad. The lone crusader fighting evil is not necessarily good. OSS is not a battle of the little guy against the big corporation, where the little guy is triumphant. It is about the big guy pushing new technology in an effort to solidify it's dominance. The little guy was trying to use what it thought was good copyright law to fight the big guy. We fought the law and the law won.

      This is also a classic case of histo

      • by jbolden (176878)

        What was every ambiguous about this case? You had one side lying and making stuff up and the other trying to disprove lies.

  • by Bootsy Collins (549938) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @04:12PM (#26348859)

    I read PJ's post on Groklaw, linked to in the article summary. It seems as if she's effectively defining Groklaw's purpose as being to deal with the threat to free and open-source software brought on by the SCO cases; that being so, if the threat from SCO is over, there's not much to do except to make sure that the tons of archived information is correct, and to work to make it easily accessible to those who might come to need it in the future.

    1. Is it really the case that the SCO cases are over? It's true that SCO's cases against IBM, Autozone, and Red Hat are moot if SCO doesn't hold the copyrights they use as the basis for their claim; but SCO plans to appeal the judgment in Novell's favor. Until that appeal is done, it doesn't seem to me to be over.

    2. Even assuming the SCO aspect of this situation is over, the fundamental issues here haven't been decided. Essentially, the judgment against SCO means that SCO doesn't have standing to bring a lawsuit against IBM. But if Novell were to become evil, then who's to say they couldn't bring such a lawsuit? The fundamental question of whether Linux infringes on UNIX copyrights has yet to be decided on in court (however ridiculous any of us may feel such a claim to be). That was the issue when Groklaw originally got started, and it's still out there.

    3. Furthermore, it's not the only legal issue that could threaten Linux or other FOSS projects in the future. Groklaw has at times addressed issues associated with patents and trade secrets, and those aren't going anywhere. And we still have yet to finish cases in which software companies attempt to invalidate the terms of the GPL, to exculpate themselves from appropriating code from projects licensed under the GPL -- also a topic occasionally covered by Groklaw. I understand that it's PJ's blog, and her life, and the focus of Groklaw is whatever she says it is. But it's still sad, because the decision to define the focus of the resource (for that's what its archives and especially its participant base are) narrowly leaves behind a vacuum at a time when there are still real threats to oppose.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mspangler (770054)

      to take your points in order;
      1) SCO's cases are moot if they do not own the copyrights. They don't have standing to sue. The cases are dead. Even SCO has admitted as much. Since no new evidence can be submitted on appeals, and SCO has no, none, zero, zip written evidence to support their claim that they got the copyrights, and Novell has reams of evidence that copyrights were deliberately excluded from the sale, SCO is wasting everyone's time. Speculation has it they are delaying long enough for (mis)-manag

    • by Cutterman (789191)

      Suddenly deciding to turn Groklaw into a mausoleum seems very un-Pj-ish.

      After all, there's still a long way to go in the saga and an awful lot of dirt
      still to be uncovered.

      I reckon someone put the frighteners on her - kidnapped her favourite cat or
      threatened to shoot her granny if she didn't tone it down.

      The shutoff was too brusque and the "return" too humble.

      I smell a rat.

      Mac

  • by phrackwulf (589741) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @04:14PM (#26348887) Homepage

    I understand the need to draw down, but I certainly would hate for PJ to totally throw in the towel. She's accomplished something by harnessing the output of the legal system to an FOSS platform in a way Geeks can understand. That is elegant and original and incredibly, incredibly important. What about net neutrality and invasion of privacy and the next organization that decides, "Who cares about legality, we can get away with it." Groklaw is the 11th commandment. Thou shalt not get away with it. The legal system as it is, is the OS of our society. Groklaw is the repository for documentation of that OS and the ways it can be played with or corrupted, the same way exploits can be carried out in computer operating systems. It's stretching a metaphor naturally.

    • by causality (777677) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @04:33PM (#26349193)

      The legal system as it is, is the OS of our society.

      That's pretty damned scary.

      I have finally understood it! Society is running Windows! That's why the legal system is slow, overly complex, buggy, expensive, designed by marketing I mean campaign contributions, applies itself to things that are not legal problems, and not under the control of the average end users! Suddenly it makes sense.

      The legal system as it is, is the OS of our society.

      Yeah, that's still pretty scary.

      • by Forbman (794277)

        Well, Bill Gate's dad was a lawyer, after all...

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Actually, society (well, the US) is running Open Source software.

        It's just that instead of letting talented programmers contribute, we choose random dudes from the crowd to authorize patches. Some of them have coded, many have not. Most haven't read the original specifications document, and some refuse to.

        We also randomly cut snippets of code out of the system when a sploit is discovered.

        Sometimes we invite the black hats to approve code, and sometimes the patch managers are paid by the black hats to inst

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by digitalunity (19107)

        Yeah but the GP wasn't really right. The court systems are only as open as you can afford. There were real costs associated with obtaining the mountains of court transcripts for Groklaw. Much of that cost was borne by a relatively small number of participants who resided near the relevant courthouses.

        Without the persistent action of a small number of people and PJ's tenacity, Groklaw wouldn't have ever gotten off the ground.

        In this day and age, it's a travesty court transcripts aren't published for free on

    • There's groups like the EFF, sites like Chilling Effects, and individual blogs like NYCL's, news aggregators like Slashdot, magazines like Wired, and many others... I can only begin a list of the categories, let alone the sites themselves.

      Groklaw has been a rallying point for part of the online civil discourse, but it's not the only one. Perhaps the community that has grown around Groklaw can keep using it as a touchstone, as they shift their own emphasis to other parts of the web, but that doesn't need Pamela's continued engagement and daily involvement, does it?

      • by MikeBabcock (65886) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @04:42PM (#26349353) Homepage Journal

        Groklaw is certainly the only thorough one. Many other sites touch on these issues from time to time, but none so frequently and thoroughly as Groklaw. Every single major even in the SCO litigation appears to have been covered, most major documents analyzed and all of the judge's comments and rulings criticized.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by argent (18001)

          Could be, could be, so perhaps the Groklaw community has an opportunity here, if they can pull together and set up a broader based site that's not focussed on a single lawsuit.

          But I've seen and been a part of so many groups like this, though, and I've found that once the original cause is won or lost they rarely hang together.

          Drawing a line under the SCO trial and archiving the whole thing will at least retain that focus for a while, and provide a resource for "the next time". The current "net neutrality" d

    • I would love to see groklaw's present state archived for posterity in a more convenient to browse format for archival purposes (also easier to mirror).

      At the same time, I'd love the site to carry on analyzing legal news (PJ and contributors willing) separately.

  • Or now that SCOX is dead, the secret funding behind Groklaw has dried up, leaving them hanging on the vine? /btw, I hate SCOX too, I'm just sayin'

  • by CdXiminez (807199) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @04:42PM (#26349351)

    Submit all of Groklaw's electronic publications to the Library of Congress.
    They're a reliable long-term (centuries) repository of publications.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jonbryce (703250)

      And if possible to similar libraries in other countries as well.

      In Britain we have the British Library, the National Libraries of Scotland and Wales, and the University Libraries of Oxford, Cambridge and Dublin. Dublin is not in Britain, but nevertheless it is one of the British copyright libraries.

      • by CdXiminez (807199)

        Now that you mention it, I'll go and inform my librarian colleagues at the Netherlands National Library next work day.

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      Submit all of Groklaw's electronic publications to the Library of Congress.

      But how much space would they take up?

      • by CdXiminez (807199)

        Not much of course.
        A national library's yearly collection of electronic publications is measured in terabytes.

    • How much data does Groklaw really have? Sure, some of it's likely to be in bloated formats (PDFs of scanned raster images as opposed to text, etc.), but is it more than a few GB? If not a DVD, will it fit on a Blue-Ray? Put it out on Bittorrent, sell copies if you want, and put some Google ads on the main page to balance some of the costs.
      Also, make sure Archive.org has a copy of the originals.

  • by Nefarious Wheel (628136) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @05:08PM (#26349763) Journal

    I think this would be a good time to seek some formal honours for PJ. Granted she has all the respect she has earned from the community over the course of the SCO epic, but it would be nice to find some appropriate gesture to show her in some tangible way just how valuable we believe she is as a person.

    I don't know what she includes in her formal qualifications, but an honourary doctorate from some high profile law school (whether she has an LLD already or whatnot) would probably not go astray. For that matter, I wouldn't think a Presidential Medal of Freedom would be inappropriate either, but that's just me. PJ has not been just a breath of fresh air, she's been the only air we had. To honour her appropriately for that accomplishment would also be to honour an example of where people exercised their democratic right to resist bullying by people who see the courts as just another business tool.

    • by softcoder (252233)

      Second the motion!
      It is true that PJ's original intent was to document the SCO case for posterity. Initially she did not have a real opinion about SCO. She was looking forward to the trial and observing the tactics of two sets of high profile lawyers. That changed pretty quick of course once SCO and their lawyers showed their true colors.
      But still the original mission of Groklaw - to document in depth the SCO trial - is accomplished.
      In the process she has also shown the power of harnessing the FOSS methodol

  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @07:54PM (#26351733)

    Groklaw is something like an established brand name. Groklaw has been quoted - or mentioned - in many major publications, groklaw has has won many awards, and has an established reader base.

    Groklaw is not just about the scox case. Groklaw has covered, in considerable depth, many legal issues relating to IT. For example the OOXML scam.

    Although I would welcome PJ to write more articles, I don't think groklaw really needs PJ anymore.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @09:08PM (#26352403)

    As a supporter and advocate of open source software, and more importantly, the principle of openness, I don't understand how PJ can come now to the open source community in general, and veteran groklaw readers in particular, with a straight face, and claim that she is suddenly interested in preserving the so-called 'complete' record of groklaw.

    This, after she has spent the last five years systematically avoiding transparency in groklaw's operations, and maintaining an iron grip on its contents by blocking access to user's comments from archive.org, and the major search engines such as google, msn, and yahoo via robots.txt. And not only has she blocked outside search engines, but she has also deliberately disabled the ability within groklaw to search for comments by author, thus making it much more difficult to see how her own comments have changed over time, and have sometimes even contradicted themselves.

    I think that PJ has, through her own behavior, irreparibly harmed, if not totally destroyed, the value of groklaw as a historical reference, by her relentless exertion of absolute control over every comment posted, quickly deleting all posts that do not sufficiently toe the party line, and literally "disappearing" the accounts of some of groklaw's most valuable contributors when they dared to disagree with her even slightly. As a result, groklaw has become little more than a strident speaker on a soapbox, in the center of a large echo chamber, resounding to the shouts of "Amen!" by the true believers.

    Those of you who have followed groklaw from its earliest days will remember one frequent contributor by the handle of "AllParadox", who learned firsthand how groklaw really operates. A retired attorney by his own account, his insightful posts were the product of years of legal experience, both in and out of the courtroom. In the beginning, he was one of PJ's staunchest defenders and advocates, vociferously rebuking any and all criticism of her. Then, something happened, and his posts disappeared. In an instant, he became an un-person, and all who asked about him or mentioned him also ran the risk of being made un-persons by PJ. His own comments about what happened to him on groklaw can be found here: http://messages.finance.yahoo.com/Stocks_(A_to_Z)/Stocks_S/threadview?m=tm&bn=2942&tid=383807&mid=383807&tof=10&so=E&rt=2&frt=2&off=1&p=mq611k_AWrbLlqArvKx.K_r6c55v2m5DOHmUgyxq6.J5PYFCet.LUhM- [yahoo.com]

    What is perhaps even more troubling than the heavy-handed censorship of different voices on groklaw, is that PJ reportedly uses a very deceptive practice, sometimes called shadow-banning or shadow-deletion. The way that it reportedly works is to make the posts of a shadow-banned member invisible to everyone except PJ and the banned poster. Because of this, nobody except PJ can see, or know, what exactly is on any given page of the site. The version of groklaw that one ordinary user, "Alice", sees may be very different from the version that another user, "Bob", sees. This alone means that groklaw can never be taken seriously as an historical archive. An archive must have a fixed and immutable content; it cannot change itself depending on who is accessing it.

    Moreover, one of the most important aspects of an archive is that it provides us with an accurate record of the nature of the *debate* about controversial issues in the past, and to show how one side won the *argument* with reasons, and persuasion. Seeing how arguments were won and lost can be very informative, and helpful to us as we face new challenges. An archive would be virtually useless if it systematically expunged one side of every argument. Indeed, it would be very Orwellian.

    Over the years, when she has been questioned about her management of groklaw, PJ and he

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It is not only her own site she wants to sanitize.
      http://www.groklaw.net/comment.php?mode=display&sid=20071121231905127&title=Could%20someone%20please%20fix%20this%3F&type=article&order=&hideanonymous=0&pid=648388#c648423

      • "It's like SCO's smear campaign has been enshrined there, which is a real distortion of Groklaw's place in history. Neither Lyons's smears or O'Gara's have any place there"

        What she would like is the Wikipedia not be about the smear campaign but about the legalities of the issues. It's bit like what you and your chum are trying to do here, piss all over Groklaw. For instance if some anonymous coward came to my house and pissed in the hall, would I be guilty of censorship, if attempted to clean it up.
    • "As a supporter and advocate of open source software, and more importantly, the principle of openness"

      I totally believe you man, and you didn't come here to piss all over Groklaw, even though that is the impression any disinterested observer would have from reading the above .. :)

      I notice in that in that example of ad hominem off-topic personal abuse you managed to not once address the contents of Groklaw viz-a-viz the legal implications of the SCO case and other attacks on the Open Source industry.
      • I think you miss his point. It doesn't matter how wonderful the legal analysis seems to be if it can't be trusted due to personal bias, which PJ has shown ample tendancy to exercise over her personal fiefdom.

        His point is that PJ's behavior in censoring those she disagrees with tarnishes the good that Groklaw has done. Is that so difficult to understand?

      • Also, don't you think that if the analysis is that great it should be able to stand up to criticism?

        On half a dozen threads I made cite proven corrections to PJ's facts and conclusions and each and every time she deleted the posts. The fact that she has never, to my ability to find, issued any kind of correction on her site should tell you something.

        And no, she's not just that good.

    • by lamapper (1343009)
      Great post, interesting and enlightening.

      If at this late date PJ wants to do the right thing, she can "un shadow" all comments, re-insert all deletions; and provide either a .pdf or downloadable file with all the information.

      I too doubt that this will ever happen.

      This is why I screen-scrape and/or copy almost every article, news report, link, etc.. that I reference for informational purposes. Later If I blog about it, or link to it from any site and someone (in their infinite wisdom , decides to dele

    • (I'll ignore the question of whether the parent poster is ta troll, or is Darryl in disguise, or whatever.)

      A couple of bloggish sites I know of, including BoingBoing, have a way of indicating moderator displeasure with comments or commentors without censoring them entirely. It's to remove all the vowels from the offending posts. You can still pretty much read them, if you're a native English speaker at least, but it's also fairly obvious that they've been spanked.

  • So write it to a DVD and get back online. How long can that take?

    And check your robots.txt file to ensure that the Internet Archive keeps a backup copy as well.

    And if you're extremely paranoid (given that other blogger site that just went tits-up), put a zipped searchable archive file on your site that anyone else can d/l and back up as well.

    It doesn't have to be rocket science.

    And print it all in a book which Google will scan and put in their digital library...
  • As all type system people know, preservation means nothing without progress ;-)

As in certain cults it is possible to kill a process if you know its true name. -- Ken Thompson and Dennis M. Ritchie

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