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Groklaw's PJ Resigns From Open Source Risk Management

"Money is nice, but integrity is everything."

"I kept coming back to the same thing. If my working for OSRM is doing harm by creating FUD possibilities, I need to remove that issue. Money is nice, but integrity is everything."

Thus "PJ" - Groklaw's founder and editor Pamela Jones - as she resigned from Open Source Risk Management in response to SCO's repeated use of her employment there to say that it proved that she believes there are substantial IP risks in Linux.

"That is nonsense, of course," wrote PJ yesterday at Groklaw.net It actually means the opposite, if anything."

"I was never involved in the insurance side of OSRM anyway," she continued. "But I take it seriously that they are using my work relationship for FUD purposes."

"There was also the Ballmer FUD to factor in. I have thought about it carefully for a couple of days and brainstormed some. There is a scripture that says the heart is desperate, meaning it wants what it wants and tries to find a way to justify what it wants, and I'm only human.

No one likes to separate themselves from an income stream if they don't have to. I tried to justify to myself maintaining the status quo. The FUD is unfair, but it doesn't matter. FUD is always unfair. One must simply deal with it. In analyzing my choices, I kept coming back to the same thing. If my working for OSRM is doing harm by creating FUD possibilities, I need to remove that issue. Money is nice, but integrity is everything. So, I have resigned."

"OSRM were extremely gracious about it," added Jones. "Down the road, when there's nothing left of SCO but an old blues song, perhaps we'll be able to work together again. But for now, I decided to try to find other work."

PJ's resignation from OSRM might not have been necessary, one observer commented, if OSRM had done a better job of rolling out its "patent indemnity" product.

"The right way to market the product would have to been to say, 'We've researched the risk of patent liability in Linux, including the risk of meritless claims, and we're prepared to quote a rate for indemnification to match what proprietary software vendors offer their volume customers.' This shouldn't have raised anyone's hackles, and it would have met a legitimate need. FUD potential would have been nonzero but small."

"It's unfortunate that PJ has to pay the price for someone else's mistake," added the commentator.

OSRM - which calls itself "the only vendor-neutral provider of Open Source risk mitigation and warranty solutions" - has yet to comment publicly on whether it accepts the blame for having fanned the FUD flames by giving Microsoft and SCO the wherewithal to spread anti-Linux rumors when it announced that Linux may infringe some 283 (unspecified) patents.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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Most Recent Comments
Anon-NoSurprise 11/25/04 12:51:55 PM EST

Well well, PJ resigned from OSRM. Can't say she wasn't warned about conflict of interest at the time she joined, or again, vociferously when OSRM came out with the 283 patent thing. Or even Ballmer mentioned patents. Or when SCO did.

Wait a minute, she can say she wasn't warned, because her toady moderators tend to delete any criticism of PJ from Groklaw, or even worse, make it visible only to the original posters IP address.

So actually, PJ is on the leading edge of recognising conflicts of interest and well ahead of the crowd. Where would we be without her sharp insight and wit. PJ I'm so grateful that I've come to Linuxworld to recommend that all your loyal Groklawyers click on your Paypal account.... [cont p94]

laseray 11/22/04 12:26:17 PM EST

It is a good thing that she left OSRM, but she should have done it sooner or not even joined them at all. Having taken a look at the OSRM website it was easy to tell what they are mostly about, making money. Sure, there is nothing wrong with that, as long as you are not acting like a bloodsucker. In my opinion, OSRM is just a bunch of corporate types looking for a market to exploit--they don't really care which market they exploit or who gets hurt in the process. So too bad for her. I have been looking around for a Linux job for a few years and still have not given in to big money from companies that wrongly exploit others. Put your philosophy where your wallet is from the start!

Thank you PJ 11/21/04 07:57:17 AM EST

Thank you PJ for leaving OSRM. I was always uncomfortable with their public
declarations as I felt that they had the potential to damage Linux when mis-used
by the anti-Linux forces.

To show my support for PJ, I am going to contribute to PJ via Paypal. I suggest
that other people who find her Groklaw work valuable do the same.

InView00 11/21/04 07:07:22 AM EST

This is a sorry day and I am sure that every LinuxWorld reader joins me in wishing PJ the best of luck in replacing that lost income stream. For the moment it would seem that the FUDers have the upper hand, but no doubt someone in the industry willhave the sense to offer Groklaw the funds that will allow the work to go on. Or do we have to become more sophisticated and not pursue the issue quite so dogmatically. The previous poster raises the question: is Daniel Egger a good guy or a bad guy in all of this. That is the nub of this. What is actually best for Linux, a nuanced approach that businessmen can relate too, or a religious approach, with blacks and whites and no grays anywhere in sight?

IntraB 11/21/04 06:59:55 AM EST

Let's get the facts completely straight. The study announced by OSRM at LinuxWorld San Francisco 2004 found that no court-validated software patent is infringed by the Linux kernel.

What it did contend was that there were 283 "issued but not yet court-validated software patents" that, if upheld as valid by the courts, could potentially be used to support patent claims against Linux.

This is what fueled all the FUD. It could have been far better expressed that's for sure!!!

goodknow 11/21/04 06:56:00 AM EST

Actually Egger was specifically chosen for his "role in fighting patents" on behalf of open source, and commended for helping "keep the momentum going for open source adoption in the enterprise ... in a year when software patent disputes threaten to bring down open source."

So is he the good guy or the bad guy? I just can't figure this one.

thYY 11/21/04 06:54:02 AM EST

Just last month OSRM founder and chairman Daniel Egger was designated "one of the 50 most influential individuals in tech," voted by a panel of industry leaders as one of 2004's Agenda Setters. The award should have gone to PJ instead!