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Pamela Jones


Pamela Jones

Pamela Jones, commonly known as PJ, is the creator and was editor of Groklaw, a website that covered legal news of interest to the free and open-source software community. Jones is an Open Source advocate who previously trained and worked as a paralegal.[1]

Jones' articles have appeared in Linux Journal, LWN, LinuxWorld Magazine, Linux Today, and She also wrote a monthly opinion column for the UK print publication Linux User and Developer. She is one of the contributors to the book Open Sources 2.0: The Continuing Evolution.[2]


  • Grok projects 1
    • Groklaw 1.1
    • Grokline 1.2
    • Grokdoc 1.3
  • PJ 2
  • Media controversy 3
  • Publications 4
  • See also 5
  • Notes and references 6
  • External links 7

Grok projects


Pamela Jones (PJ) had a web site, Groklaw, which covered open source legal issues, notably the SCO-Linux controversies. The web site started as a blog but grew from there. Her stated purpose for starting the blog can be found in the first interview she ever granted, for Linux Online, where she said:[1]

I started my blog just before the SCO case was filed. Originally, my purpose was just trying to learn how to blog, because an attorney and I were discussing the possibility of me doing some telecommuting work for him, including work on his blog. I had no knowledge of blogging, so I quickly got Radio, because he used it, and I put up one article to practice, which I never thought anyone in the world would ever see (ironically, about the Grokster decision and how I admired David Boies' Napster legal documents). I was just writing to the air. My thought then was to try to explain legal news stories as they came along. I was forever reading Slashdot comments about legal news and most of the comments would be way off, and I realized that there is a hunger for someone to explain what it all means, what the process is, how things play out, to people who aren't in the legal field.

Groklaw's Mission Statement says it is meant to be several things:[3]

It's an experiment, something not quite like anything that has been done before. It's primarily a working site, not a discussion forum. First, it's a journalistic enterprise, with interviews, research, and reporting of legal events important to the FOSS community.... Second, we are applying open-source principles to research to the extent that they apply.... Third, it's an antiFUD site.

Groklaw covered the various lawsuits involving the SCO Group in detail but also covered general legal news of interest to the Free Software and Open Source community. The site won numerous awards.

Groklaw shut down on August 20, 2013, following the Lavabit email shutdown, because there was "no way to do Groklaw without email", and the inability to privately collaborate without it: "I can't do Groklaw without your input." [4]


Jones also launched Grokline, a Unix ownership timeline project, in February 2004.


Grokdoc is a Groklaw spinoff whose original goal was to create a useful manual on basic Linux tasks that new Linux users will find simple and clear and easy to follow, using what they learn from their study. The site now also supports many other collaborative projects which benefit from its wiki-like structure.[5]


Jones reveals very little personal information, as she considers it private and has expressed from the beginning a strong preference for avoiding fame. Here are the reasons she gave in the early days for using just her initials:[6]

I originally wanted to stay anonymous, in a sense, by just saying PJ. Eventually media attention and other factors made it impossible to remain just PJ but I would have if I could have. I have no desire to be famous, for one thing. And I have been creatively influenced by Scott McCloud's work. He points out in Understanding Comics (p. 45–51) in a section on iconic representation that people respond most strongly to a drawing of a character that simplifies to the point that anyone can identify with the character. I guess I was hoping for that effect. In other words, I was hoping people could assume whatever they wanted and just focus on what I said, rather than on who was saying it. For that reason, I chose PJ, because it could be anyone, either sex, any nationality, anyone and no one in particular. I wanted participation by anyone interested in the SCO story. No politics. Nothing extraneous. Just an effort to locate and provide evidence that could be useful. I knew the community could answer SCO, if they just knew what was needed. And they have.

Media controversy


  • Articles in Linux Journal, Linux World, Linux Today, LWN.
  • Monthly column in LinuxUser, a UK print publication.
  • Contributor to Open Sources 2.0: The Continuing Evolution.[2]

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b "Interview with Pamela Jones, editor of Groklaw". Linux Online. 2003-07-31. Retrieved 2007-02-18. 
  2. ^ a b Chris Dibona; Danese Cooper; Mark Stone (2005). Open Sources 2.0: The Continuing Evolution. O'Reilly Media.  
  3. ^ "Groklaw Mission Statement". 2007-01-29. Retrieved 2007-02-18. 
  4. ^ "Forced Exposure". 2013-08-21. 
  5. ^ "Main Page". Grokdoc. Retrieved 12 July 2013. 
  6. ^ "SCO's 1Q 2005 Earnings Conference Call — transcript". Groklaw. 2005-04-18. Retrieved 2007-02-18.  PJ quotes this passage herself, and explains that she provided it to a WorldHeritage editor in 2003.

External links

  • Groklaw
  • Grokline UNIX Ownership History Project
  • Grokdoc
  • Schestowitz, Roy (November 2, 2007). "Interview With Pamela Jones, Editor of Groklaw". 
  • Pla, Pep (June 2007). "Pamela Jones: A committee of one (interview)". 10 Questions. 
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