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Grokline was a community-based, collaborative research project, designed to trace the ownership history and survivable legal enforcement rights of UNIX and UNIX-like software code. It was run and edited by Pamela Jones and complemented her Groklaw website, which acted as a focus for legal news of interest to the Free and Open Source Software communities, including in particular SCO Group's litigation against IBM and others and its attacks on Linux.

The purpose of the website was to collect comprehensive information on the many commercial and non-commercial releases of UNIX and UNIX-like code, so as to reduce or eliminate the scope for superficially plausible but ultimately invalid copyright, patent and trade secret claims against Linux or other free and open source software.

The antecedents of Grokline were Groklaw and the SCO legal actions, and Eric Levenez' Unix History chart, which shows the technical relationship between different UNIX releases as a family tree. The logic underlying the site was that pooled community information could:

  • Assist in establishing as a fact the open nature of UNIX code, or
  • Identify UNIX code which is not open source, to assist in guarding against its inclusion in open source code offerings.

In December 2005, Grokline was taken off-line while Groklaw's volunteer administrators worked to separate the patent software used by Grokline, which did not belong to Groklaw, from the Grokline software, which Groklaw owned.[1]


  1. ^ In this comment on Groklaw, Pamela Jones explains why Grokline is currently off-line. For more comments about Grokline, search on the word 'grokline' using Groklaw's site-search function.

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