I am upset. If you write quite a bit, you learn a rule: you must never, ever write when you are upset. In such a state, clarity simply goes out the window and what you think is a masterpiece turns out to be... a pile of incomprehensible, misspelled crap.
I am doing it anyway. A disclaimer: I'm publishing this article "as is" - no spell check, no Dave Guard turning my atrocious English into... well, English.
(Actually, this article has had minor editing after publication - D.G.)
I am deeply upset and saddened by O'Gara's article on Pamela Jones of GrokLaw.
I don't share O'Gara's ways nor approach. She seems to hate Groklaw, and the secrecy around the web site. Hatred is not a nice nor constructive feeling; it doesn't help anybody, and in fact it often goes against you (as it's going against Maureen right now). Unfortunately, we all experience it and we all act out our anger sometimes.
This "entry" is here for two reasons. The first one, is to ask you to forgive Maureen O'Gara. What she did was vile; but it must have been out of frustration and anger. She is a human being; she has made a great mistake, and she will pay for it. I ask you to forgive her even though what she has done is unforgivable, and it's right now that we all have to bring out the best in ourselves and try to see even the unforgivable as... well, forgivable.
The second, more important reason that I am writing this (dangerously) unedited "entry", is to ask the question: why is Maureen's article unforgivable? I asked this question of myself. In a way, you can even see where she is coming from: there is this wonderful site which is helping the demolition of SCO's absurd case, and it seems unlikely that a single individual could possibly run it all on her own. It is also true that if Groklaw were run by a bunch of IBM's lawyers, well, it would lose at least some of its credibility. I think I have reasons to believe that this is exactly what Maureen wanted to find out. Again, then: why is Maureen's article unforgivable?
Because there is a chance (and for a lot of us it's a strong chance) that Groklaw is run by a wonderful woman who could be a Christian or a Jehovah's Witness or a Buddhist, and who believes in what she does to the point that she is willing to put herself in a dangerous position in doing so. Yes, I said dangerous, and I mean dangerous. Chances are that PJ is in fact a person who lives her everyday life, has a job, does what she has to do, and runs Groklaw thanks to the support of the whole Free Software and Open Source Community. And she wants to keep her identity secret to protect her family from possible threats and retaliation, and to be able to stay unbiased.
This paragraph is for you, Maureen: if the above was the case, Maureen, you have hurt somebody beyond belief. You have hurt somebody so much, that I can only hope you will never find out quite how bad the damage has been. Because if you did find out, you would never be able to forgive yourself.
Well, that's a big weight off my chest. But I'm not quite finished yet. I want to talk about myself for a minute.
I am an ex-cracker born in Italy and living in Australia. When I was 18 and 19, I cracked quite a few computers and nearly went to jail for it. My phones were tapped, and only an amazing series of coincidences saved me. I didn't have to go through a trial, but a lot of people around me did. I never destroyed a system, but I did read files I shouldn't have read. If one day I made somebody very powerful really angry, I can see how they would be able to dig into my past and find all sorts of things that I would find "embarrassing" in the least, compromising at worst. They could pick on my past as a cracker, on my religion (I am a Buddhist), on the way I live my life, or on another million things.
Maureen, this is another paragraph for you. I am sure you haven't been a cracker, but if I were to look very, very thoroughly into your past, would I not find all sorts of potentially embarrassing or compromising facts? Would I not find things that I don't agree with? If so, would I have a right to publish your home address, your phone number, and your religion on the internet, if you had expressed your desire to stay anonymous? Finally, now that you have discovered that Pamela Jones actually exists and is not a bunch of lawyers, don't you think that you should at least consider the chance that she is a just a normal person who is using anonymity just to protect herself and her family from threatening characters and from people like you, who are willing to publish her home address on the internet?
Again, this is my plea to the community to forgive Maureen and to do our best to act in a civil manner in regard to this issue.
And to Pamela Jones... good luck. I won't ask you to forgive Maureen for what she's done - not yet - but I hope this "pill" helps you somehow.