CyberTech Rambler

January 10, 2011

PJ, please carry on with Groklaw

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 7:20 pm

Year end soul searching for PJ: Wondering what to do with Groklaw.

Brian Profitt’s excellent analysis is here. All I have is a bit of advice to PJ.

Groklaw, as Profitt said, is no longer an anti-SCO site. In the years, it had grown/morph/(insert your favourite adjective here) into a pro-Free softwarre site, and one that specialize in the legal aspect of Free Software. This is Groklaw’s unique selling point. The strength in Groklaw is its ability to galvanize and act as the center of gravity for collective work to defend Free Software. Unlike Software Freedom Law Center, which concentrate on professional lawyering, Groklaw’s informal way of ‘lawyering’ makes it more approachable.

I don’t like the idea of turning Groklaw into a community-run site. I think PJ should remain the central point of focus. PJ’s ability to dissect legalese into something a lay person like me can understand is what kept us coming back for more. This cannot be easily translate into a community-run site. Personally, I doubt we  can find the equivalent of PJ. Andy Updegrove comes close. At times, he is better than PJ for his more unbiased view. However, his professional commitment means he can speak less freely than PJ, and that is a severe handicap.

In one aspect PJ should wake up and smell the coffee. I can understand her frustration in seeing Novell signing a patent agreement with CPTN after spending years of her life helping it fight SCO. I think she shouldn’t feel frustrated. She should instead, concentrate on her ‘mission’, providing legal analysis for Free Software related lawsuit and galvanize support for Free Software activism on legal issue threatening Free Software. Treat Novell (or any other companies) just like another entity to deal with. Deal with them on a per-issue basis: Sides with it when cooperating with it brings benefit to Free Software, and do not hesitate to take the other side when they work  against the interest of Free Software.

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