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To read comments to this article, go here
Same Slime, Different Day - updated 4Xs
Wednesday, March 21 2007 @ 06:00 PM EDT

More unpleasant insinuations, as you may have noticed by Paul McDougall on Information Week with the unbiased (ha ha) title, "IBM Helps Fund Web Hosting For Anti-SCO Site Groklaw." Yessir. No point of view there. What a stretching of facts to suit a purpose!

May I please be the first to say out loud what you are all thinking? --

So what?

It isn't news that IBM contributes to ibiblio and has done so for years, long before Groklaw was born. They didn't stop when Groklaw moved to ibiblio. That's the extent of the accusation. That's all there is to the story. Dan Lyons started sliming Groklaw with this ibiblio story in 2003, so it's not worthy of a headline now. SCO has been pushing this innuendo since at least 2004. Blake Stowell carried the same baton, remember?

"It may be that kind of intransigence that leads SCO's Blake Stowell to hint at darker motives. 'Doesn't anyone find it the least bit ironic,' he asks, 'that Pamela Jones lives ... less than 10 miles from IBM's worldwide headquarters, and that Groklaw is hosted, free, by a nonprofit outfit called iBiblio, which runs on $250,000 worth of Linux-based computers donated by IBM and a $2 million donation from a foundation set up by Robert Young, founder of Red Hat?'

"'Call me crazy,' adds Stowell, 'but I somehow think that Pamela Jones isn't just a paralegal with nothing better to do with her life than host a Web site called Groklaw that is dedicated to bashing SCO. I think there is a lot more to her background and intentions than she is willing to reveal publicly. I believe that Big Blue looms large behind Pamela Jones.'"

Well, the joke is on them. I am a paralegal with nothing better to do than Groklaw, and there is no Big Blue looming behind me. ibiblio hosts literally thousands of websites. IBM had nothing to do with Groklaw getting started, and we were already a force before we moved to ibiblio, and IBM had nothing to do with ibiblio accepting Groklaw. We were accepted because we qualified. Just because ibiblio hosts Groklaw doesn't mean I work for IBM. I don't. And I'd like to say thank you to ibiblio for hosting us. I'm deeply grateful that they don't allow the nonstop slime to cloud their vision.

Remember when SCO implied that Andrew Morton was an IBM supporter because he worked for OSDL at one time, and IBM contributed to OSDL? That's the peculiar way SCO connects dots. Morton and Linus chose to work for OSDL because it was vendor-neutral, with some 70 entities contributing to it. But to SCO, it's all IBM, everywhere they look. That is the level of stupid that these folks are peddling. ibiblio receives and accepts contributions from a lot of entities.

The article claims that I didn't answer the reporter's email prior to publication, but from the timestamp on the email, it appears he didn't email me until after publication. I did answer him. Here's what I said:

Hi Paul,

SCO has weird fantasies about conspiracies, and they're mean as snakes, in my view, and now desperate, so they libel me and now, I gather, ibiblio. They really should be ashamed of themselves. There isn't any connection between me and IBM. They just say that to try to make people think less of Groklaw.

ibiblio is a nonprofit that a lot of folks contribute to because it's a national treasure. See this page.

IBM had nothing to do with me being accepted there. ibiblio hosts thousands of valuable websites that otherwise probably couldn't afford to be on the Internet, with a stress on historical collections and open source and Linux and much, much more. Groklaw is a natural fit. Project Gutenberg is hosted by ibiblio, for example, and so is Eric Raymond's site, last I looked. Groklaw is a history project, as we are attempting to chronicle in full detail this significant litigation, and it's an innovative use of technology, because we were the first to try to apply open source principles to legal research. That's all.

But take a look at our coverage, Paul, for yourself. See anything we predicted that isn't coming true in the litigation?

How did we know so long ago? Not because I'm a committee of IBM lawyers, and not because I am secretly Eric Raymond's wife whispering in his ear what to write -- just two of the fantasies that SCO has viciously floated to the press based on no facts whatsoever. It's because Groklaw is a group work, and the world's FOSS folks came there to help do research. Between us all (Groklaw has just under 11,000 members now and many more readers), we knew the history of Unix and Linux, we understood the tech, and we understood the GPL and how it works, and we understood the legal process, and we knew Linus wouldn't steal anything from anyone.

That's really all there is to Groklaw. I have a background as a paralegal, and so I knew that part, and I'm geeky so I understand enough of that part of the story to at least coordinate what others researched and found.

If I may say so, SCO could have saved itself a lot of trouble and effort if it had just paid attention to what I was writing. I tried to warn them multiple times that they were seriously off base about the GPL and that it would be their Achilles' heel, but they plowed ahead anyway. Now they are in it up to their eyeballs, but it didn't have to be this way.

Here's Groklaw's mission statement.

Best,

PJ

Why does the mainstream press consistently push SCO's slime? I have my theories, but unlike Mr. McDougall and SCO, I keep them to myself, until I have clear evidence to stand on, not these gossamer threads that they weave into conspiracies.

Groklaw stood alone in the media in the beginnning, saying that SCO didn't have the facts on its side. The mainstream media swallowed SCO's bilge whole hog. Who got the story right? That's right. We did. No one who understood the technology, the GPL, and the legal issues could come to any other conclusion than Groklaw did very early on. That isn't bias; it's expertise.

Here's how McDougall covered SCO's bogo claim about spoliation, by the way, the accusation the court ruled was not true. Here's part of Groklaw's. Which is more accurate, in light of the eventual court ruling? The problem with a lot of mainstream media people in covering this story is that they have no legal knowledge, so they have no way to measure whether what SCO feeds them is true or distorted. But I do. And I wrote that their motion was not likely to be successful. It wasn't. That isn't antiSCO. It's just accurate. My background and training give me an added insight.

I asked McDougall for an explanation about what seems to me a pretense at giving me an opportunity to comment. There was no immediate response to my inquiry sent to him seeking comment for this story.

Update: An anonymous comment is so funny, I just have to add it here. He or she sets out to apply SCO logic to prove that ibiblio is IBM:

"ibiblio" is actually IBM, and this is quite simple to prove. Just look at the name "ibiblio". The first two letters are "ib", just like the first two letters in "IBM". IBM has obfuscated the match by spelling "ibiblio" in lower case, while "IBM" is in upper case. However, expert testimony has shown that the two are functionally equivalent. This is a clear cut case of non-literal copying.

But what about the "M" vesus "iblio"? Well, sophisticated spectral analysis shows that these too are equivalent. I realise that this may be hard for you to understand, so I will try to keep the explanation fairly simple.

# If you take the ordinal values of the ASCII characters "iblio" and add them together, you get 527 (105 + 98 + 108 + 105 + 111 = 527).

# Now the ASCII character set is stored in an 8 bit byte, which means we can have at most 256 ASCII characters. This means the result will have "wrapped around" a few times (rather like an odometer in an automobile). So this means we need to correct the result by dividing by 256 which gives us 2, with a remainder of 15 (527 / 256 = 2, remainder of 15).

# Now, this remainder of 15 is very significant. Since we are talking about the 3rd character in "IBM", we need to first subtract 2 (programmers count from "0", not from "1"). So, 15 - 2 = 13. Now, what is the 13th letter in the alphabet? It's "M" of course! It has simply been hidden by obfuscation.

So, the first two letters from "ibiblio" resolve into the first two letters of "IBM" through a simple process of non-literal copying. The remaining letters resolve into "M" when the obfuscation has been stripped away by spectral analysis.

So what about the so called "Pamela Jones"? This pseudonym also falls before our relentless logic, and we discover that Pamela Jones = Sam Palmisario! How does this work?

# Pamela Jones / Sam Palmisario. Notice the correlations here. "Pamela" is obviously a slightly rearranged "Pamila", with the "i" changed to "e" for further obfuscation.

# "Jones" is so obviously phony, we can discard that without further consideration.

# What about the remaining letters from "Sam Palmisario"? Well remove "Pamila" and you are left with "Ssamrio". Even the most cursory Google search shows a close match between "Ssamrio" and "Sanrio" (yet more obfuscation and non-literal copying)., "Sanrio" of course, are known for having deep, deep intellectual property rights in "Hello Kitty".

So ladies and gentlemen, I'm not asking you to believe me. No, I'm asking you to believe the evidence before your very eyes. Groklaw is a conspiracy perpetrated by IBM and "Hello Kitty". They can deny it as loudly as they wish, but the evidence I have shown above can't be refuted.

I hope the above has cleared the air on this issue. Thank you for your time, your patience, and of course for your $699.

Irrefutable logic, ladies and gentlemen, as I live and breathe. Of course, as a friend points out, IBM's boss is Samuel J. Palmisano, not "Palmisario."

Which is actually MUCH more damning, because "Samuel J. Palmisano" is easily rearranged to "Pamela 'Simula' Jones" (with an extra "e" added in an obvious attempt at obfuscation).

"Then again," he says, "Anonymous's logic IS much more SCOvian..."

Update 2: I heard from McDougall. He says the time stamp on his email is wrong. He sent the email, he says, at 10:30 AM and the story was published at noon.

Update 3: Roblimo says it better than I did, on Linux.com, in a brief article titled "ChangeLog: Groklaw is hosted by an IBM-supported Web site -- and this means absolutely nothing" -- a taste:

ibiblio.org hosts a wide variety of sites, including The Poetry Project. And Videobloggers.org. And North American Slave Narratives. I'm looking at the ibiblio.org main page. Right up top, in the masthead, it says, "the public's library and digital archive."

A library can and should host all kinds of material. For instance, ibiblio has downloadable binaries of Caldera Linux in its collection. Since Caldera is what SCO used to be called, does this mean (gasp) that IBM is sponsoring SCO?

I suppose I could write an inflammatory headline that said so, although I'd rather write one about how IBM "sponsors" the ibiblio-hosted Tibetan Center for Conflict Resolution, a group whose services SCO CEO Darl McBride could certainly use.

Update: IBM has now issued a statement, which InformationWeek has published:

"IBM has no connection to the editorial content posted on Groklaw.

Groklaw's website, and hundreds of others, are hosted on a website at the University of North Carolina (UNC), called ibliblio. This site is described by UNC as a public library. ibiblio runs on IBM System x servers which were funded through an IBM Shared University Award Grant awarded to UNC -- a grant that predates Groklaw ever being hosted on ibiblio. Anyone can host a site there and IBM does not sponsor, nor endorse, the content of those sites.

IBM is proud to sponsor many universities around the world in various ways, including helping them host websites like the one at UNC."

I think it's more than hundreds of web sites. I think it's thousands. Here's the index page, and you'll be amazed at the scope of the categories alone. Here's their Linux Archive, over 171 gigabytes of Linux programs and documentation freely available for download, and their collection of Linux distributions, and while you're there, you can download Knoppix, so you can fix your stupid Microsoft software when it goes belly up. It will, you know. Or grab Fedora or Debian and go the whole hog. ibiblio also hosts the Linux Documentation Project, if you need some help. Here's an intriguing recent addition to the collection, Chaotic Maps. There is such a depth and breadth of interesting material on ibiblio. Tell your PHB to donate to ibiblio, by all means, and please tell them Groklaw inspired the gift.

: )


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