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To read comments to this article, go here
When There's Nothing Left of SCO But a Old Blues Song. . .
Friday, November 21 2003 @ 10:44 PM EST

Rupert Goodwins has written about Groklaw in an article, "How to Score SCO's Legal Games" on ZDNet UK. It's actually on page two but it's well worth reading the whole article to capture the flavor and style.

This is the one I will frame and show to my dear older relatives, who dutifully read Groklaw now and again, but haven't a clue what the geek in the family is up to or what it's all about -- my mom, my favorite uncle, semi-retired now and living in Florida.

I treasure this article, first, because it's from a writer whose skill and talent I genuinely admire. It's charmingly written, with wit and style. And, second, he includes a reference to the blues. It just happens the blues is one of my favorite kinds of music, although I'm more a fan of Bobby "Blue" Bland, Howlin' Wolf, and Muddy Waters than B.B. King. But B.B. King will do.

Here is the snip from the article, the part that's about Groklaw. I don't think anyone will ever top this.

Of course, you are all welcome to try.

"One may be expert in the details of Linux and Unix, and perhaps understand half what's going on: one may be a commercial lawyer and be comfortable with the other half. Trying to untangle the chimera at the interface of technology and law is enough to send anyone off to take up a simpler job, like quantum chromodynamics.

"But hold on before you brush up your Feynman: there is one good thing that's come out of all this. The unofficial nexus of the SCO affair is Groklaw , a bulletin board turned into a Web site. Here, you can find lawyers and code hackers busily engaged in pulling the bones out of every pronouncement that falls from the mouth of Darl McBride, CEO of SCO, and his merry men. SCO says it's sent IBM all the examples of the code it claims IBM infringes in Linux? Well, here's a Unix guy who's shown the 'infringing code' so produced was produced by a simple text search for certain words in the Linux source -- and proof of nothing at all.

"As for the 'non-competing' clause in the Novell-SCO agreement: you can argue about exactly what it protects, and whether Linux has anything to do with it. People on Groklaw are doing just that, and it looks no more substantial than anything else SCO has said. But you can't argue with the fact that the same clause says that it will terminate if there's a change of control of SCO -- and in 2000, SCO was bought by Caldera. Steady your nerves, chaps.

"Groklaw is a sterling example of Internet interdisciplinary cooperation between experts and concerned parties. The discussions are impassioned but controlled, and documenting arguments is the order of the day. Heavily spiced with links and excerpts from many sources, the rule is -- if you don't understand, ask. If you know something of import, tell.

"When this whole sorry affair is over and BB King can get on with writing the Ballard Of Black Dog McBride, Groklaw will stand as a monument to how a community under threat can gather its resources and calmly set about restoring sanity in a hurricane of bluster. If anyone can find a way to bottle this, it may even all have been worth it."

My uncle will understand now what Groklaw is, and he'll be proud of me. (Of course, he thinks I'm wonderful anyway.) Thank you, Rupert. When there's nothing left of SCO but an old blues song, I will still remember how it felt when I first read about the Ballad of Black Dog McBride.


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