92 Groklaw – Where We Have Been and Where We Are Going
without a point of view, but accuracy of reporting has always been the goal. Second, while Pam and
Mark do most of the writing, they receive significant contributions from the many Groklaw
volunteers, including research, reporting, document conversion, expertise, or whatever we need.
These volunteers are legal experts, technology experts, educators, and journalists. They come from
just about every walk of life.
As stated, Groklaw has a point of view that drives the stories and commentaries in which it has
interest. Groklaw is a proponent of free and open source software, a proponent of truly open
standards, an advocate against patents related to software, an advocate for low-cost, wide-spread
access to the Internet, and an advocate for reasonable protection of privacy. That isn't to say that
Groklaw is against other forms of software development or licensing, just that we believe the
approaches we support are superior. Finally, Groklaw is for fair competition in the marketplace,
which means we do not look kindly on FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) as a tool to promote one
position over another.
Groklaw is also a wonderful historical archive of information and documents. Technologically
supported by and operating on the servers of ibiblio
, all of the information that Groklaw gathers and
publishes remains accessible to the public. Groklaw has years worth of litigation history, transcripts,
court documents, legal references, and papers that may be of interest to either legal scholars or the
average Joe simply trying to understand more about free and open source software and the battles
that have been fought on its behalf. And, while Groklaw provides a great deal of legal information, it
does not dispense legal advice. There are plenty of experienced open source attorneys for that.
So what is Groklaw 2.0 and what is changing? Initially, not that much. Groklaw is a tremendous
enterprise that has accumulated eight years of stories, technology, and practices, and you just don't
hand all of that off overnight. For the time being, we are in a period of transition and learning.
However, anyone who has been around Groklaw for awhile is likely already seeing subtle changes.
Mark's style of writing is not the same as Pam's. That is neither good nor bad, it's just different.
Second, Groklaw is focusing more and more on patent litigation that either directly or indirectly
impacts the FOSS community. Part of that is because of Mark's background and interests, but a
larger part of it is because that is where the information technology industry is today, deeply
embedded in a morass of patent litigation.
As Groklaw eyes the future, there are some things clearly on the horizon. One is to expand its stable
of writers. While Pam continues to write the occasional article and Mark is now doing the bulk of
the writing, we want to engage other writers in this enterprise. So we are reaching out to both law
students and legal practitioners to participate and contribute.
A bit longer term, we are looking at a possible change in our technology platform. While Geeklog,
the blogging software on which Groklaw runs, has served us well, it is not as flexible as many of the
tools now available for web publishing. We will remain committed to open source tools, but Drupal
may be a better long-term platform for us.
Groklaw will also start to stretch its wings, moving from primarily covering U.S.-centric litigation to a
2 Ibiblio, http://www.ibiblio.org
International Free and Open Source Software Law Review Vol. 3, Issue 1