The SCO litigation attacking Linux might seem like ancient history now, but I refer to that small piece of the story here because many people who are developing and using free and open source software might not have been paying much attention 10 years ago, possibly because they were still in grammar school or high school then.
That was a serious attack on the freedom to develop and use free and open source software involving both major litigation in US federal court and a public relations campaign of fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) directed against Linux, surreptitiously funded and encouraged by Microsoft and Sun, which between them funnelled millions of dollars to SCO disguised as payments for software 'licences' that they didn't need.
That campaign backfired, ironically, but at the time we couldn't know that it would, so it was necessary to defend the right to develop software collaboratively and license it under terms that encourage continued development by requiring modifications that are distributed to be shared with the original base of developers. It was a crucial battle.
Oracle has since bought Sun, but Oracle is even more ambivalent about and at times antagonistic towards free and open source software than Sun ever was, and its ongoing litigation with Google over Java and Android proves that. And Microsoft is still around, of course, and it's still just as much a mortal enemy of open source software as it was in 2003, except that now it has moved the still ongoing battles to software patents.
Unfortunately the threats to free and open source software have not gone away, so the FOSS community still needs Groklaw as a resource to assist its defence, more than ever.
Therefore I hope that ultimately PJ will reconsider, come to realise that illegal US government surveillance of the internet and email was already under way throughout all of Groklaw's history, come to terms with that ugly fact emotionally, even if she cannot accept it intellectually, find a reserve of defiant grit and determination, and reopen Groklaw, perhaps under the protection of a foundation with formidable legal resources.
No one should have to accept that, of course, and the people of these United States should not accept it, because such egregiously sweeping internet surveillance clearly is unconstitutional and totalitarian, and it must be either stopped or rendered irrelevant and ineffective through the further development and widespread adoption of reasonably secure email encryption. But either of those alternatives is likely to take some time, and meanwhile Groklaw might be quite helpful.
However, and be that as it might be, it is unacceptable to me that Groklaw has been forced off the internet by the spectre of totalitarian police state surveillance at the hands of the US government. I find it totally appalling, and I firmly believe that the entire free and open source community must do something about this that will be effective, before we lose our freedoms entirely. µ
"Big Dark coming." - Hunter S. Thompson
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