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SCO Claims Groklaw's Pamela Jones Is "Not Who She Says She Is"
Darl McBride: "All Is Not As It Appears"
By: Maureen O'Gara
April 15, 2005 12:00 AM
Maureen O'Gara writes: SCO CEO Darl McBride claimed during the company's Q1 earnings report Wednesday evening that Pamela Jones, a.k.a. "PJ," the now-famous, albeit shadowy, voice of Groklaw, the web site that follows the SCO v IBM suit and has become a festering thorn in SCO's side, is "not who she says she is."
He didn't say who she is - if she is a she - but he did say that SCO has been "digging" to discover the true identity of its nemesis and claimed that, from what it has learned so far, the situation is "much different than advertised" and that "all is not as it appears."
He basically challenged the press to question Groklaw's credibility and unmask whoever or whatever is behind it.
McBride of course has a bone to pick, a big bone, and has suffered Groklaw and its rabble rousing silently up until now. He blames the blog for ruining his SCOsource licensing scheme.
According to what he said, Groklaw's "reason for being is to destroy SCO" - a statement even Groklaw would readily agree with, we would think. But McBride claimed that its tactics are "biased," its commentary is "hype," and that it's guilty of "misleading" its readers and "spinning" the facts.
When asked by a reporter if there was connection between Groklaw and IBM, Groklaw's obvious beneficiary, McBride ducked the question saying, "I don't want to go to the IBM card."
Whatever you think of his politics, McBride may have a point or two. How come such an influence peddler is so mysterious?
Groklaw came into being two years ago around the time SCO sued IBM for allegedly stealing its Unix code and putting it in Linux, which has won SCO the undying enmity of the open source and free software communities.
Groklaw pretty much sprang like the war goddess, Athena, did - fully armed from the brow of Zeus, although its author, according to what PJ has said, was supposedly just a paralegal "trying to learn how to blog."
In Groklaw's case that meant a fully formed and complete open source philosophy. And because of the cause célèbre it took up with such fervor, nobody in the open source community - where you usually have to show your pedigree papers at the door to get in - seemed to question its antecedents...or purposes.
Groklaw has no fixed address or phone number. The phone numbers it's left with people change as often as blonde next door's hair color. Its only steady connection with the outside world is virtual. Its domain is registered by proxy, so whoever owns it is a secret.
The name PJ is apparently a nom de plume or, in this case maybe it's a nom de guerre. According to one e-mail interview, "I originally wanted to stay anonymous.... I chose PJ, because it could be anyone, either sex, any nationality, anyone and no one in particular."
PJ declines to come out from behind the Groklaw web site. When she was having some beef or another with SYS-CON Media and she was invited to come on Internet television, she demurred saying she was "shy." Odd, she doesn't write like she's shy.
Only one person has ever claimed to have met her and described her as a fortysomething with reddish-blonde hair. (Since I have some skin in the game because of the way I'm knocked around regularly by Groklaw, I've been out PJ hunting too and I've yet to come upon this fortyish reddish-blonde creature, but I've certainly met some interesting people along the way.)
The Groklaw masthead has changed over time from identifying PJ as a "paralegal" to a "journalist with a paralegal background." Well, nobody whatever their political stripe would mistake Groklaw for journalism. By definition, journalism is nominally "objective," even as practiced by Dan Rather. There is nothing objective about what Groklaw says or the reaction it gets. Opinion maybe, but not journalism.
Nothing in the world is as black and white as Groklaw paints the SCO v IBM case, despite all the opportunities presented by SCO, a press agent's nightmare, unless perhaps it's a cartoon or maybe a Tom Mix western.
PJ claims, "I never give legal opinions. That's reserved for lawyers only, and I respect that line." But, judging from Groklaw's commentary, this is one paralegal with no qualms about trying the case and appropriating the job of both the judge and the jury.
Groklaw ain't the result of a 40-hour week either, so if PJ has a day job it's hard to figure where she gets the time. Yet Groklaw has no visible means of support unless we are to believe it's kept alive by PayPal donations. Looks like a lot pricier operation than that.
Which begs the question McBride ducked, "Cui bono?" Who benefits?
Well, certainly IBM has - whether it has anything to do with Groklaw or not.
Groklaw has certainly provided IBM with a soothing sedative for those large accounts hesitating to adopt Linux unless the thought of possible liability was undercut.
Anyway, PJ responded in what seemed like minutes to McBride's credibility challenge saying, "It's an honor to be smeared by SCO...It puts me in the same company as Linus, which is a wonderful place to be. I gather they are threatening me and hope I'll be intimidated and shut up."
PJ also claimed SCO has yet to pierce her veil. "I have heard," she wrote, "SCO has been telling journalists a lot of peculiar stories about who they think I might be. One guess was that I was Eric Raymond, with his lawyer wife whispering in his ear. Another guess was that I am a composite of IBM lawyers. Another was...I forget. It's too silly. They didn't get it right yet, that I've heard."
Sounds like a serial killer taunting the cops to catch him.
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