Practical Technology

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Yes, there is a PJ


According to Forbes, SCO recently tried to subpoena Pamela “PJ” Jones, editor of the popular Groklaw legal news website. They were not successful. I’ve been unable to confirm with SCO that they indeed attempted to have Jones file a deposition for one of their Linux-related lawsuits. Since this incident was reported to have happened, Ms. Jones announced on Groklaw that she has “been sick more than once recently. I don’t seem to be getting back on my feet the way I’d normally expect, and so after some thought I’ve decided to take a little break from doing Groklaw, just until I get my strength back.”

Since then, Groklaw has been kept updated by the site’s webmaster, Peter Roozemaal, aka MathFox. Jones, herself, has been quiet.

As a result of all this, there are once more rumors flying about that “Pamela Jones” is not a real person. Or, as SCO CEO Darl McBride once put it, Jones is a front for anti-SCO parties, such as IBM, and she’s not who she says she is — a paralegal who’s also a journalist.

Let me address this directly. Yes, Pamela Jones is a real person. I’ve met her several times, and I’ve often “talked” with her on email and IM. I consider her a friend.

She is not a front for anyone. She is a paralegal, hence her excellent legal research skills, which are the foundation of her stories. And, she’s a journalist by any standard I know of.

What I find surprising, frankly, is that Jones has been able to keep up her production at as high a level as she has over the years. She has been driven by her passion for open source and fairness to produce a remarkable body of work.

Let me add that while I can sing her praises, we don’t always agree. I take it a far kinder view, for example, of Novell’s relationship with Microsoft than she does.

I also have an entirely different slant toward the public knowing about me. If you want to know more about me, it’s pretty darn easy to find out anything you might want to know. Jones, however is a highly private — even shy — person in her personal life.

She also was hoping that by being semi-anonymous “people could assume whatever they wanted and just focus on what I said, rather than on who was saying it. For that reason, I chose PJ, because it could be anyone, either sex, any nationality, anyone and no one in particular.”

Regardless of PJ’s exact identity — no, she’s never shown me her passport — here’s what’s really important. Jones has made her reputation as a top legal IT reporter from her work detailing the defects with SCO’s case against IBM and Linux. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that her work has contributed enormously to everyone’s coverage of SCO’s cases.

Speaking as a writer who can argue that he’s covered The SCO Group, and its predecessor companies Caldera and The Santa Cruz Operation, more closely than anyone else, save one, in journalism over the years, I have to take my hat off to Pamela Jones. I’ve written hundreds of stories about SCO; she’s written thousands.

Groklaw, as the SCO lawsuits wind their way to what appears to their final ending, under Jones’s direction, has also been expanding its legal IT coverage to DRM (Digital Rights Management), Microsoft’s legal battles, and open document standards.

The SCO cases will go away. SCO may go away. But, once Jones has her health back, Groklaw will continue.

A version of this story was first published in Linux-Watch.

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