Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Oh, how I mourn the loss of Groklaw

I miss Groklaw. I used to read it every day for the complex mix of law and software together. For the adventures of watching the SCO v IBM fight. For the concise examination of whether software can be patented. I miss the goodwill and good natured debates in their forums, too.

The loss of Groklaw came about because, Pamela Jones, the creator and primary author, shied away from the good fight because of NSA surveillance, everywhere. I can understand her sentiments, but in this day and age, silence is worse than speaking, even if surveillance is widespread and getting close to unstoppable. Only by speaking can we make a change. Silence will be interpreted as consent.

The closure of Grokaw, now frozen in time from that fateful day that Jones made her decision to stop, is like a hole in the internet to me. It is a monumental capitulation to the forces that wanted to silence but could not. So it seems that the NSA was able to finish the job that others could not.

Groklaw was famous worldwide for its concise and groundbreaking journalism that few others were willing to pursue. The site is run by volunteers with no advertising using free and open source software, namely, Linux and the Apache web server with free databases like MariaDB. I have spent many hours there, reading up on events, treatises on math and law, trying to make sense of this world we live in through their lense. But now it is frozen, perhaps forever. I still check on it from time to time, as I did today, hoping to see a new post.

The closure of Groklaw is the best example of what surveillance can do to us if we let it. It can stifle free speech and leave us without a voice in our government, public discourse and ultimately, to determine our fates.
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