Letter to the Editor: No IBM-Groklaw connection

By Pamela Jones


March 5, 2004

LETTER TO THE EDITOR--Groklaw's Pamela Jones responds to SCO's Darl McBride's claim of IBM connection:

In Dan Farber's excellent interview with Darl McBride, Mr. McBride made the statement that IBM sponsors Groklaw.

That isn't true, so I appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight. Groklaw is my Web site, so I can speak authoritatively on this subject.

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.

I have no connection personally or professionally to Red Hat either, by the way, or to FSF or OSDL or OSI. I have had several opportunities to "monetize" Groklaw, as Mr. McBride might put it, but I've declined those offers, because I wanted to be able to report the truth--without pressure to slant things in any way. None of those offers came from IBM or Red Hat. Money is fine, but integrity is everything.

Groklaw is a labor of love. SCO seems to find it hard to believe that I would do this as a volunteer. But I do. They don't understand wanting to pool knowledge period, being a bit old-fashioned in their thinking. Groklaw is my thank you to the GNU/Linux developers who gave the world an operating system that I enjoy using, because of the freedoms that come with the software. Groklaw is also an idea, an innovative attempt to use a kind of open source method for group legal research, something the Internet makes possible, and it's been an enjoyable experiment and a successful one.

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?

Ibiblio hosts a great many sites, about a thousand, including the world-renowned Project Gutenberg, some research sites like Documenting the American South, and several Linux sites. Ibibilio is a "collaboration of the Center for the Public Domain and the University of North Carolina". They call themselves "The Public's Library and Digital Archive."

They host only noncommercial sites, with the goal of making it possible for groups and individuals that otherwise couldn't afford to be on the Internet to have access. You might consider donating to Ibiblio, too, after you take a look at everything they host. Ibiblio is a national treasure. I'm proud they host Groklaw.

Groklaw has only been hosted by Ibiblio since September, by the way. It was already well-known prior to that when it was hosted by RadioUserland, beginning in May, and then, when we got too popular, by a Groklaw reader, who provided free bandwidth because he thought Groklaw had value. When we nearly melted his server with our constantly increasing traffic, another Groklaw volunteer asked Ibiblio if they would host us, and they graciously agreed. IBM didn't know about it and had absolutely nothing to do with it. Large corporations donate to a lot of things. So do foundations.

Millions of readers now agree that Groklaw has value, which is probably what is bothering SCO and why they appear to be trying to diminish its influence by casting unfounded aspersions on Groklaw's integrity.

Pamela Jones (known as PJ to her readers) is the founder and editor of Groklaw. She is Director of Litigation Risk Research for Open Source Risk Management (OSRM). On February 4, 2004, Groklaw launched the Unix History Timeline Project, a collaborative effort to document the nearly thirty-year copyright, patent, and trade secret history of Unix and other proprietary precursors to Linux.

Copyright 2004