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SCO plans Web site for legal filings

Published October 15, 2004 12:34 am

Prosco.net: The Lindon firm wants to counter caustic spin on other sites
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2004, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

In the 17 months SCO Group has waged its multiple-lawsuit war over its alleged rights to Linux, Groklaw has been the festering thorn in the Utah software company's side.

The Groklaw Web site, http://www.groklaw.net, arguably is the most comprehensive online archive of federal court filings in SCO's ongoing courtroom battles with IBM, Novell, RedHat and others over claims SCO's Unix code was purloined by the freely distributed Linux operating system.

But Groklaw, begun by paralegal Pamela Jones shortly after SCO sued IBM in March 2003, also serves as a forum for her colleagues in the "open source" community - a loose-knit, global network of pro-Linux programmers and developers. Thus, each new filing generates floods of anti-SCO postings.

On Thursday, Lindon-based SCO drew a digital line in the sand, confirming plans to set up its own Web site offering the latest from the Unix-Linux legal arenas - minus the caustic commentary.

"We've had a lot of stakeholders, investors, partners, customers and developers who want access to [legal filings]," company spokesman Blake Stowell said. "But they have also told us they want to do that without having to go to Groklaw, that they prefer not to have to endure all the negative comments."

SCO's new site, http://www.prosco.net, will debut Nov. 1. Stowell said the company, other than providing summaries on more complicated, lengthy filings, generally will let legal documents speak for themselves.

"I doubt we will be posting much on this site that won't be available elsewhere," he added. "We want to be respectful of the courts . . . but we also want to be able to provide the information."

Several other sites [see box] serve the pro-Linux crowd's SCO-related curiosity, but Groklaw's family of supporters - many of whom attend hearings and haunt court clerks' offices to harvest the latest developments - have made it the favorite.

Indeed, it has been Groklaw's immediacy - often the latest court filings have appeared on the site even before the U.S. District Court's official Pacer subscription archive puts them online - that made it a must-read Internet stop for software industry executives, attorneys and reporters following SCO's cases.

Chad Robinson, senior research analyst for the Robert Frances Group, chalked up the coming of Prosco.net as a belated effort to shore up SCO's image. "SCO is aware of its image problem," he said. "This [is] another move to try to win back some hearts and minds to its case."

Robinson also acknowledged that "Groklaw is not perfectly neutral," but predicted Prosco.net, as its name implies, also will be a long way from a bias-free resource.

Surprising no one, Linus Torvalds, a Finnish programmer considered the father of Linux, scoffed at the notion of SCO's new "anti-Groklaw" remedy.

"Groklaw does nothing but shine the light on what SCO is doing," Torvalds said. "[SCO] are like cockroaches scurrying about in a panic saying, 'we'll need the anti-light.' "

But Jones, who not only continues moderating Groklaw but also was hired earlier this year as director of litigation risk research for the Open Source Risk Management organization, welcomes the competition.

"I hope they live up to the high standards of journalism that Groklaw strives for," she said. "But I think they made a big mistake already, in choosing their domain name."

Stowell has an answer for that.

"We particularly chose that domain name thinking it would very uncomfortable for our detractors to type in 'prosco' for any reason," Stowell said.

bmims@sltrib.com

Sites for more information

Web sites with analysis, documents and other information related to the SCO Group's litigation over its rights to Unix, and by alleged extension, Linux:

http://www.prosco.net As of Nov. 1, will provide documents and summaries of litigation from the SCO Group's perspective.

http://www.groklaw.net An archive and forum on the SCO Group, a favored site of the pro-Linux "open source" programming community.

http://sco.tuxrocks.com Downloadable SCO-related court filings, observations, also from a pro-Linux view.

http://www.perens.com A site maintained by Linux developer Bruce Perens, a leader in the open source community.