Last week, LinuxInsider published a story looking at the role of Groklaw.net, an informational Web site dealing with The SCO Group’s lawsuits against Linux users and supporters. The story contained both expressions of support for, and criticism of, Groklaw and its founder-publisher Pamela Jones, including statements by SCO’s public relations director, Blake Stowell.
The story elicited a storm of protest and abuse from members of the open-source community, ranging from allegations of biased reporting to suggestions that its publishers were secretly in the service of proprietary software vendors. One criticism was that Jones was not given the opportunity to respond.
The publishers feel that the story presented both sides and that its critics failed to distinguish between presenting the views of a party to a dispute, and endorsing them. Stowell’s comments, it was felt, could stand or fall on their own merits.
One of the legitimate demands contained in some readers’ letters was that Stowell back up his allegation of “misconstrued and twisted” information on Groklaw with specifics. In fact, at our request, Stowell had provided an example, but time constraints prevented its inclusion in last week’s story.
Blake Stowell said:
Here is one example. On January 27th, Pamela Jones chose to post a story from Newsforge that was written by Bruce Perens. In this story, Bruce suggested the following: That he has “assembled ample evidence that they [SCO] have lied under oath in court.”
Bruce Perens also wrote in this posting:
“This virus [MyDoom] has been assembled for the purpose of defaming the Linux developers by spammers, SCO, or others.”
Has any specific evidence about SCO lying under oath actually been presented or come forward? Not to my knowledge.
Has anyone found that SCO was actually the creator of the MyDoom virus? No. To even suggest that SCO was the creator of the virus I believe is ludicrous.
This is one example of how in SCO’s opinion, a lot of misinformation is posted on Groklaw.
In the interests of fair debate, therefore, we present his example here and talked with Pamela Jones in an interview for her views on it and on other matters related to Groklaw, SCO and the continuing disputes.
LinuxInsider: Pamela, what’s your response to this example?
Jones: I see no misinformation. Perens stated his opinions. SCO doesn’t like it that the truth is out there, but it’s out there. If he wishes to make a statement on Groklaw, stating his position in some matter, he’s free to send it to me. I don’t think the stated concern is sincere, though. I reserve the right to respond, naturally.
LinuxInsider: In last week’s story, Stowell made some serious insinuations about you, your motives and your backers, suggesting that you are secretly associated with IBM. What’s your response?
Jones: As I have said publicly elsewhere, I don’t have any connection to IBM professionally or personally. I never have had any such connection. I have never even been inside an IBM building. They haven’t given me any financial support of any kind. Not a dime. Not a promise. Not a grant. Not a PIPE deal. Not an envelope of money under the table from a cousin. Not a ThinkPad. Nothing. IBM does not sponsor Groklaw.
Why, then, does SCO say that IBM sponsors Groklaw? They make the claim based on the fact that they say IBM gave some computer equipment to Ibiblio once upon a time. And Ibiblio hosts Groklaw for free. They have also been telling journalists that I live near IBM headquarters. That’s it. That is IBM’s “sponsorship.” Wink, wink. Get it?
By trying to get journalists to print where they think I live, they are putting me in danger. If you think I am exaggerating, take a look at what a SCO zealot posted on Yahoo’s Finance message board, that if I was as pretty as [Julia Roberts playing] Erin Brockovich, he’d … well, he seemed to have rape in mind.
LinuxInsider: We’ve heard that judge Brooke Wells has criticized “trial by media” in the IBM case. What’s your view of the proper role of media in reporting disputes such as this?
Jones: SCO, in the most recent teleconference about the financials, said Wells told both sides to avoid remarks in the press. That seems unlikely to be precisely accurate. When did you last hear IBM say anything at all to the press about the case? Which side has been trying it in the media, in your experience? Why, then, would Wells tell IBM not to try it in the press?
The media doesn’t understand why people react when lies or falsehoods are printed. It’s because people don’t like lies and falsehoods. The tech media is used to Microsoft users, who mostly don’t know their nose from their big toe when it comes to computers. So they don’t react to stories with inaccuracies.
People who use GNU/Linux know computers well, so they spot nonsense a lot quicker, and yes, I suppose they get sick of reading nonsense, particularly nonsense they perceive to have been written for hire, so to speak, with MS money in the background tilting the stories against FOSS.
LinuxInsider: Finally, what’s your view of SCO’s choices of DaimlerChrysler and AutoZone as end users to sue?
Jones: I think they have made a laughingstock of themselves. And I think that no one in their right mind will ever enter a contractual relationship with them again.
These aren’t really end-user lawsuits, though. As I’ve written, these are “uh oh, I was a SCO customer” lawsuits. This DaimlerChrysler thing has nothing to do with Linux, unless you see SCO as a scorned, toxic boyfriend who beats you up if you try to leave him and his Unix software and switch to GNU/Linux.
AutoZone is accused of using shared libraries, but the guy who switched the company over to Linux posted on Groklaw a month ago that they didn’t use any shared libraries, so I expect that means curtains for that lawsuit. Of course, it’s early in the picture, but so far I see absolutely nothing that will stand.