The inability of SCO Group to find and question a blogger who has posted thousands of negative articles about the company's lawsuit against IBM is the latest twist in the ongoing legal battle between the two companies. As usual, SCO blames IBM for its troubles.
Groklaw blogger Pamela Jones recently wrote that she is no longer going to post items because of "health reasons." That has deepened long-held suspicions at SCO Group that Jones doesn't exist and is actually a composite character invented by IBM's legal department, according to an insider at SCO.
Over the past three years, Jones has posted thousands of articles on Groklaw.net blasting SCO for a multi-billion dollar lawsuit the company filed in 2003 against IBM. SCO is alleging that IBM, in distributing Linux, is violating SCO's licensing terms and intellectual property rights governing SCO's Unix products.
If SCO's charges about Pamela Jones are true, it's the latest example of a technology giant trying to manipulate the blogosphere for its own purposes. Last month, Microsoft was caught offering to pay a blogger to amend a number of entries on the online encyclopedia Wikipedia that the software maker felt were unflattering.
IBM said SCO's allegations are not new and not true. In a court filing made last year, IBM claimed it has no connection with Groklaw or Pamela Jones. "IBM does not have any agreements or arrangements with Groklaw or with Pamela Jones, and IBM does not necessarily agree or disagree with any of the content published on Groklaw," IBM said. The filing was made last February and came in response to an earlier request by SCO for any IBM documents relating to Groklaw.
SCO last week tried to subpoena Jones as a witness in the case, but efforts to locate her in the town of Darien, Conn., -- where she supposedly calls home -- proved fruitless, according to a report on Forbes.com that was confirmed to InformationWeek on Wednesday by a SCO insider.
On Saturday, Jones said she is taking a break from Groklaw for health reasons. "I can't predict exact dates, because what I really need is a real vacation and time to just do nothing until I fully am myself again," Jones wrote.
"I've done almost 3,000 articles on pretty much a daily basis, with a lot of time stress, since mid-May of 2003, and I think I'm a bit worn out, between SCO and the ODF [open document format] thing," Jones said in her posting.
Jones' sheer volume of output is part of the reason that SCO doubts she is a single individual. "If you follow the time stamps on some postings, it appears she was working around the clock," a SCO insider says of Jones, who has referred to herself as a "paralegal" but has divulged little else about her personal life.
Adding to the mystery: records indicate that Jones used a proxy company to register Groklaw.net -- meaning that personal data such as her address and telephone number are not available from Internet record keepers such as the public Whois database. Records indicate that Groklaw was registered in October 2003 through a company called Domains By Proxy. Under strict ICANN rules, that means Domains By Proxy technically owns Groklaw.net, not Jones.
In a statement on its Web site, Domains By Proxy promises to guarantee the confidentiality of its customers but admits that, "on occasion, our service is used in conjunction with illegal or immoral behavior." Spammers and other Internet users seeking to hide their identities frequently use proxies to register their Web sites and e-mail addresses.
SCO officials did not immediately return calls seeking public comment on the matter.