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"SCO Is Chafing Badly Under the Propaganda War It Is Losing to Groklaw" - To Set Up Rival Website
Wednesday, October 13 2004 @ 03:26 PM EDT

They think we have beaten them at their best game, I gather. So far, so good.

Actually, they view it as a war, whereas I view it as a quest for truth. SCO says that they are being attacked by "Hurricane Linux". But I believe Dr. Freud would label that as projection. Who started attacking whom? Be fair, SCO. Ha Ha.

They plan to set up a website to tell their side of the story, beginning November 1, and provide legal documents so you won't have to come to Groklaw any more. They say they had requests to do that.

No doubt it's the same group they told us asked them to set up SCOSource and then didn't buy a license.

They won't allow any comments, because they'd get drowned out, they say. That fear ought to tell them something.

You can see some of the media coverage, by the way, here and here and here and here, the last being where the Maureen O'Gara quotation used in the title comes from. She wrote it back in mid-September, but I didn't think it was worth mentioning. I thought it would come across as blowing my own horn, too. But now that Groklaw is in the headlines, I guess I should respond. Anyway, I want to share the experience with you.

One journalist asked me if I would respond. Here is what I sent to him:

I am surprised their lawyers let them do commentary on an ongoing case, but I have confidence my readers will continue to come to Groklaw for what they like about Groklaw, which is that they trust me and they enjoy what I write and they are participants in a community.

I like the touch about it being due to consumer demand. Must be the same group that they allege begged them to do SCOSource.

I think SCO has misdiagnosed their problem. They think their problem is that they haven't gotten their side of the story out. That isn't their problem.

On court filings, anyone can get the court filings in the IBM case for free on Pacer and for pennies in the other cases. If that is all they are offering, I doubt it will draw.

That isn't primarily what people come to Groklaw for, anyway. If they did, they could skip the articles and head straight to the Legal Docs page, which has the filings with no commentary, or one of the Timeline pages, which also provides legal filings without commentary.

Having said that, if all SCO's trolls would desert Groklaw and head on over to the new SCO website and stay on the compound over there, that would be lovely.

So, that's how I view it. I am naturally interested to read their commentary. I have little doubt that there are some lawyers here and there drooling in anticipation as well. SCO's problem is in the courts, not in the media. If I were advising them about PR, I'd tell them to address that problem, and good publicity will result. They need to show the world some System V code in Linux pronto. That would solve their PR problem in a blink. No charge for my advice, by the way. This is a noncommercial site run by volunteers who are beating you at PR. Go figure. There was a followup question, asking if Groklaw was my job, and here is my answer to that:

Groklaw isn't a job. It's my hobby. I do it from the heart, because I want to. I do it to say thank you for software I truly enjoy. And I do it because it's a creative experiment, to see if we, as a community, could be helpful in finding evidence in the lawsuit. After all, although the community is not a party to any of the lawsuits, it is their code being fought over and we are all going to be affected by the result, so why shouldn't we care? And I do it to deflate FUD. Groklaw is an antiFUD site. Our goal is to tell the truth, with facts and links to allow you to verify everything.

That is, by the way, one reason people trust me, I think. They know I have complete editorial freedom, so I don't have any pressure to spin a story any particular way. I care about accuracy and being fair. I think they know and rely upon it that if I picked up a rock and found some evidence that bolstered SCO's side, I'd say so straightforwardly.

You can read more about Groklaw's purpose and various features, standards, and services here and here. Here are some details about their planned site and why SCO is suddenly talking freely again, from PCPro's Matt Whip, linked to above. It seems BayStar made them stop talking to the press, and now that they are gone, up pops Darl. What? You thought the story about Judge Wells asking them to be quiet was true?:

Prior to this, the only place the SCO community could find out SCO's side of the story was from McBride himself. Aside from a brief period when investor group Baystar threatened to pull out its shares unless high level execs communicated in a more 'sensible, businesslike fashion,', McBride had been very active delivering executive speeches, open letters and conference calls extolling SCO's case and portraying the Open Source community as a harbourer of 'counter-cultural ideals' and labelling the GPL licence which governs Open Source software as violating the US Constitution.

But with Baystar having converted its stake to common stock and busily selling it off, McBride was back in full force at the Etre conference, describing intellectual property as 'the new gold', and warning that in the IP Gold Rush, the Open Source community is out to get it. He urged providers of proprietary software to shore up their intellectual property against 'hurricane Linux'.

The "SCO community"? That would be exactly who? And as for saying there was no place to get information, they surely had SCO's website, which already had legal documents cherry picked by them. They put up legal documents on their site before Groklaw began to do it, as I recall, beginning with their original complaint. And there were plenty of press releases, that's for sure. There was also their Darl website. Remember when they announced that? It already tells SCO's side of the story. What? That wasn't a thunderous success? I think SCO has forgotten that it told the Washington Post's Jonathan Krim back in June that that SCO lawyers also use Groklaw as a resource:

"One Web site focused exclusively on the case, known as Groklaw, was started by a paralegal named Pamela Jones and now has roughly 5,000 contributors. Though it is ardently pro-Linux, the site has grown into such an exhaustive archive of software history and law that attorneys on both sides use it as a resource."

And they are welcome to continue to use Groklaw as a resource. Of course we have way more than 5,000 members now. Groklaw just keeps on growing. I found that little bit of history by using the search function. I just typed in "resource both Groklaw" minus the quotation marks, set the menu for "all these words" and there it was. I use Groklaw as a resource myself.

So what is this really all about? Time will tell, but I expect their site will attack Groklaw. There has already been, just as I said there would be, what I view as an astroturf campaign on other boards, and heaven only knows it's been tried here. So they are now upping the ante. That is my interpretation. That's what will distinguish it from their prior offerings, which already tell their side of every angle of every SCO story. Except the one that Groklaw tells. The one that is the pebble in their shoe. So, like Night of the Living Dead, here they come.

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