% fortune -ae paul murphy

Groklaw vs. the cookie jar

Arrrrg! April 1st is on a Sunday - and April fools jokes just aren't funny if read first on April 2nd, so I'm forced to put off the first annual chutzpah in IT advertising awards until Hanukkah.

Meanwhile InformationWeek released a howler last Wednesday: under the headline: "IBM Helps Fund Web Hosting For Anti-SCO Site Groklaw

Groklaw, a widely read Web site that has sided with IBM in its legal battle with The SCO Group, receives free hosting from an academic research project that is in part funded by IBM, according to the project's director.

Paul Jones, director of the University of North Carolina's ibiblio project, confirmed in an interview that ibiblio provides free Web hosting services to Groklaw and that ibiblio is funded in part by grants from IBM as well as several other tech companies with a strong interest in the promotion of the Linux operating system.

Oops! -that's right up there with Maureen O'Gara's apparent claim: (which I have from a February 17/07 blog by Barbara Darrow) that the ODSL has been helping fund Groklaw:

Maureen O'Gara's latest Client-Server News contains a bombshell. In a story headlined 'Pam on the Lam' (sic), O'Gara cites an unnamed OSDL board member saying that the group sent IBM money to Groklaw.

That's a very big charge, given P.J. and Groklaw's campaign to discredit SCO and its lawsuits vs. IBM and Novell and et al. Many, including SCO, suspected that P.J.'s Groklaw has been funded by IBM. Secretly funded, since IBM and P.J. have both denied these charges.

In reality I don't think anyone should be surprised if it turns out that these charges are true (after all, what's academic about Groklaw?) but -and I say this despite having had my own innings with the fabulous Ms. Jones - Groklaw is kind of the Glen Beck of the tech set: passionately one sided, but reasonably intelligent and up front about it. I mean, it's not like Groklaw pretends to be objective in either its reporting, its historical revisionism, or its refusal to countenance contrary opinion - although, come to think of it, Beck does give air time to democrats, but then he's a republican and subject to higher standards.

You'd think Groklaw might be too, but it isn't: it is what it is; and if it turns out to have been IBM funded from the gitgo, so what? - the site stands on its own as our premier example of how the internet can be used to sanctify a proprietary position through majority endorsement - and its ultimate influence as a model for political campaigns will, I think, greatly outweigh its transitory impact with respect to the SCO mess.

Paul Murphy wrote and published The Unix Guide to Defenestration. Murphy is a 25-year veteran of the I.T. consulting industry, specializing in Unix and Unix-related management issues.