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The Voice of Groklaw

The Scope of Groklaw

  • December 31, 2003
  • By Jacqueline Emigh

More and more members of the Linux community--and sundry others--keep flocking to Groklaw, to get a better grip on the manifold issues surrounding the SCO legal controvery. Who, however, is Pamela Jones, the voice behind Groklaw?

How has she responded to the growth of Groklaw from a blog to a full-fledged Web site? What's the origin of the "Groklaw" name? Why does Jones use Mandrake Linux? As a paralegal, has Jones ever considered becoming an attorney? Does she think SCO will ever prevail? For the answers to these and many other questions, LinuxPlanet conducted an interview with Jones.

LinuxPlanet: Right now, your Web site focuses on SCO-related legal issues. How much interest (if any) do you have in expanding your coverage beyond SCO? If you do think you might expand your coverage, what kinds of areas might you address? Why?

Pamela Jones: There are many other stories I'd like to cover, and originally, that was my intention, so after SCO, I look forward to covering them. SCO became the focus because of events and because I believed I could help, and it seemed important to try. Groklaw keeps growing in popularity, and eventually I may need to ask others to join me, lawyers particularly, who would like to pick a case to follow and explain closely. Patents is a natural subject to take on. I can't personally do one more thing, though, without cloning myself.

As for the why: I have identified a market no one knew existed. People are interested in understanding the law if a case affects them personally, and they want to help. It's not just the parties who are affected by a lawsuit like SCO v. IBM. It's every Linux coder and user on the planet, and most of them have no way on their own of knowing what is going on. Groklaw fills that need. I collect research and show people how to find out what is happening in a case. It's paralegal skills and they work, thanks to the Internet, so that now anyone in the world can follow along. I get email all the time from people saying Groklaw helps them not to feel so frustrated by the SCO case.

It is also a way people can contribute to the outcome. A lot of coders out there know where the bodies are buried but didn't realize until reading Groklaw that what they know could be used to help win the case. It's a new way of approaching a case. No one person is as smart as everybody. In the case of Linux, the world is literally full of experts. If anyone would like to help translate Groklaw into any other languages in an ongoing way, please contact me. That is the next thing I'd like to try.

LinuxPlanet: On your Web site, you emphasize that you're a paralegal, not a lawyer. Have you ever considered becoming a lawyer? Why or why not? Have your interests in this regard changed any since you started blogging? If so, how?

Jones: At one time I really wanted to do it, but circumstances prevented me. Now, I don't have that dream. I saw what it's like to be a lawyer. People don't realize what a hard profession it is. I see lawyers burning out right and left all the time. It's hard work for a sustained, lifetime career, because there is such a high level of stress. I have found out doing Groklaw that I'd rather write than sleep, judging by my actual choices, and I can't imagine anything more satisfying than what I am already doing. I didn't know when I was a little girl that I wanted to grow up and do Groklaw, but now that I'm doing it, I know this is it for me. This is what I want to do.

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