Bonum Certa Men Certa

Why Sites Like Groklaw Are Important

“In the United States, for example, about one sixth of the gross national product, over a trillion dollars per year, is devoted to marketing. Marketing is manipulation and deceit. It tries to turn people into something they aren't -- individuals focused solely on themselves, maximising their consumption of goods that they don't need.”

--Noam Chomsky

Summary: Contrarian sites whose analysis deviates from that of marketing personnel is valuable, as proven by Groklaw (and hopefully Techrights too)

LATER THIS week we will publish details about Novell's latest moves, which do not yet include naming a buyer of Novell assets, including UNIX. It seems inevitable and just because this view may not make people comfortable does not make it any less true. Truth is not a matter of preference, convenience, or faith.

“Truth is not a matter of preference, convenience, or faith.”For those who do not know, the SCO case is hardly producing any news anymore and nonetheless, Novell is still being challenged by SCO. Groklaw, which has just received an EFF award, is there to reiterate the facts. Techrights wishes to congratulate Groklaw on this EFF-granted achievement. It's well deserved! The topics covered by Groklaw have always been similar to ours (same with Bruce Perens, but he rarely writes anymore), mainly because they explore the interaction with opposition, particularly attacks on software freedom. Even though Groklaw is hardly as active as it used to be (moving back to a pace of about one article per day rather than 3 or so), the output it gathered over the years is there to stay (the Internet extends 'shelf life' of news) and to serve those who are interested in exploration which goes deeper than press releases, lobbyists, and 'general-purpose' journalists who merely 'redress' those press releases, taking the claims at face value, hardly ever challenging them, and then reprinting to deceive generations to come. In fact, just to give a new example, Groklaw is now addressing an old press release from 15 years ago, helping to show why it falsely claims SCO to be the owner of UNIX. The courts ruled otherwise, more than once in fact. It's unfortunate the process can take years to complete, so justice is slow and expensive (more on that in the next post).

It's a 1995 joint press release by HP, Santa Cruz and Novell dated September 20, 1995, one day after the APA was signed by Santa Cruz and Novell. That makes it Santa Cruz telling the world *at the time* what it thought it had purchased, and what it says it bought is ... the UnixWare business. At the trial, Alok Mohan, a SCO witness, was asked if the press release accurately reflected the deal, and he said yes. What could he say? He's quoted in the release. He was then Santa Cruz's President and CEO.

Suffice to say, there is spin to be combated here, as in many cases (one of the biggest spin machines is actually operated by the Gates Foundation). Few people may be able to reach Groklaw (rather than their local newspaper) and appreciate the fact that truth always deviates quite wildly from claims that are made in press releases and the corporate press. Wikileaks is another example of a site that has had major impact not so much because of Wikileaks staff but because of the incognito hero who leaked piles of military memos (last year we had a lot of fun with Comes vs Microsoft memos). These two sides at Wikileaks have helped the world see that the mainstream press can be distrusted and that the Internet can be used to eliminate deception, not just to spread disinformation as many others do.

One of Groklaw's latest posts deals with SCO's bankruptcy and those who paid close attention may also know that SCO possibly faked back in 2007 when it filed for bankruptcy protection (emphasis on "protection"). As Pamela Jones puts it:

Another bill from Ocean Park Advisors, its 12th monthly bill. This one is for September. So... when does its advice pay off for SCO, one wonders? How many years does it take for this company to get on its feet and exit Chapter 11 or alternatively to see the wisdom of throwing in the towel?

This year and in the later part of 2009 we saw a lot of dodgy financial activity at SCO. To say that SCO is not just trying to cause damage to Linux (as opposed to bring about a SCO Renaissance) is to ignore evidence which the commercial press has chosen to ignore while Groklaw repeated it over and over again.

"On the same day that CA blasted SCO, Open Source evangelist Eric Raymond revealed a leaked email from SCO's strategic consultant Mike Anderer to their management. The email details how, surprise surprise, Microsoft has arranged virtually all of SCO's financing, hiding behind intermediaries like Baystar Capital."

--Bruce Perens

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