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Re: [tlug] Re: Why the shirts? Why TLUG? (About groklaw)

Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
IOW, I see that it's an institution, but I don't see what it's *good
for*, or how it helps to organize the community. Can you enlighten
I am just a groklaw "follower" and by no means represent groklaw or PJ but
I can give you my personal  opinion:
(And please forgive me when I state the obvious)

OSS is not just a couple of kids in the basement any more (if it ever was) but
OSS is put to use by major corporations. For some applications, like tools for
electrical circuit design, Linux start to be the platform of choice. Linux in
embedded systems has not been news for a long time now. OSS on the
desktop may not be mainstream yet but Vista/DRM may very well
change that.
Anyways, my point is that OSS is a major threat to proprietary SW and
increasingly so.

And what will companies like MS use to fight back, when FUD is
not enough any more? (except more FUD)
There is ample reasons to expect more "attacks" on OSS similar
to the SCO Group attempt.

Other than FUD the three major weapons are licensing, patents and
standards.  Standards in itself is not a threat to OSS but together with
licensing and patents it may be. At least when MS creates the standard
and base it on their own patents that they "graciously" license to anyone
who want to implement the standard (the license is of course not
compatible with GPL or any other OSS license).
Patents in itself is a threat to OSS. MS applies for hundreds of
patents each year (if not more) that cover stuff from some operator
in a computer language to the DOS file system (I think that particular
patent has been revoked). I know patents are difficult to understand
and most people do not even bother to read them because of the
weird language. And most programmers have no idea what counts as
"prior art" and think that it is possible to revoke a patent because
it is "obvious" by some standard.

So why bother? Why not let the MS people play on their side of the
field and we can stay in our end? There are plenty of balls for
That is a good question that I will not go into but I care and some
other people do too. And btw it's OK not to care, we can not
all "save the whales".

The OSS community needs people who understand both the technical
aspects of software and to some extent the legal. People that can
cooperate with the lawyers and understand them and the legal system.
Groklaw give geeks a glimpse of what they don't know they don't
know and start them on the path to understand more.

All that said I am sure there are other groklawians that would state
"the groklaw mission" better and/or different. And groklaw is not
the only place on the net. There is also Software Freedom Law
Center (, Public Patent Foundation
( and a few others.

So bottom line: What groklaw "is good for" is that it makes geeks
(and non-geeks) take interest in law, licensing and patents.
(Geeks are geeks after all, computers, law, what's the difference ;-).

 > PJ:s blog is a strange bird in the OSS community. Technical
 > discussions, when they arise, are considered "off topic"

I don't find that strange, I think it's an obvious ecological niche
that needed to be filled.

 >The main focus is the SCO vs. IBM lawsuit

How boring. I thought there was little remaining to be said about
that, except the technical legal manoeuvering?
And right you are. AFAIK SCO Group will loose big time against both
IBM and Novell (the RedHat case is on stay pending the Novell and/or
IBM case but after Novell and IBM I guess there is not much SCO Group
left to fight it).
And I dare say that the people on groklaw where the first to know and
understand why (not that this matters much but....).
But the case is not over yet and what groklaw cover is exactly the legal
maneuvering. Some may find this boring but groklawians don't.
When I first joined groklaw it was to see if there was any merit to
SCO:s case. I soon found out that there wasn't but I have stayed because
reading the legal documents with PJ:s insightful comments is such a joy.


"never question a mans choice of liquor or blogs"

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