PAMELA JONES (PJ), the mistress of the legal research blog Groklaw, has announced that she will stop writing articles there on its anniversary, 16 May.
PJ is a paralegal who started blogging about a lawsuit filed by Caldera, which later renamed itself as The SCO Group (SCO), against IBM in 2003, in order to explain the legal system to free software developers and software development technology to lawyers. She thought SCO's legal attack on Linux was wrong and, wanting to help, she started writing about it on a blog that she set up called Groklaw.
Since then there has been a lot of water flow under the bridge and SCO, a troll under the free software bridge that dreamed of hijacking Linux, has lost in court and is bankrupt, about to go out of business.
The INQUIRER recently caught up with PJ about what she thinks will happen in the denouement of SCO's demise, and about what she foresees as the future legal threats to Linux and free software.
With regard to whether SCO or the company that bought its assets, Unxis, might try to replay SCO's attack on Linux, PJ said that she doesn't think it possible. "What else is there to say?", she wrote. "Anything SCO does next or Unxis or Microsoft or anyone can now be adequately answered by our research, which remains free and available to the world."
In reply to a question about whether software patents might be used to attack Linux and other free software in the future, PJ was rather blunt: "The solution to the problem of software patents is that software and patents need to get a divorce. They are destroying innovation and hence threaten the economy."
Although PJ refused to hazard a guess as to how the US 10th Circuit Court of Appeals will rule, she noted, "There is no automatic right to appeal to the US Supreme Court. SCO can ask, but the court doesn't have to say yes, and in fact most of the requests to that court are denied. So in real terms, if the appeal goes against SCO at the Tenth Circuit, I think that is realistically the end of the road."
As to what additional sorts of mischief Unxis, the crew of financial players that has apparently bought what few scraps are left of SCO, might get up to in the future, PJ responded, "Can they try to start up again? I expect they want to. But if the purpose from the beginning was to create a FUD cloud over Linux, patents are just as useful. SCO is a squeezed dry lemon as far as copyright claims are concerned, in my view."
Unxis is holding a busted hand if it has dreams of threatening to sue Linux users over copyrights again. "As for any hopes people have about suing others with the copyrights that the court ruled SCO didn't get, my analysis is that it won't work. The court ruled that Novell didn't transfer them," PJ said.