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Groklaw privacy spat ends Linux Business News column

An unusual spat is flaring in the Linux community over an article published in Linux Business News that claimed to have unmasked the author of a popular open-source Web site.

Maureen O'Gara, a freelance writer who pens the weekly LinuxGram, alleged that Groklaw blog author Pamela Jones is a "61-year-old Jehovah's Witness with religious tracts in her backseat." O'Gara said she personally visited what appeared to be Jones' apartment and Jones' mother's home in the New York City area.

Those in-person visits reported in O'Gara's article drew stiff criticism among Jones' readers in the open-source world. "I am not going to further sully my reputation by affiliation with a sleazy sensationalist such as O'Gara," wrote LinuxWorld editor James Turner. Dee-Ann LeBlanc added that O'Gara has "finally gone too far."

Both Linux Business News and LinuxWorld are published by Sys-con Media.

The upshot? Turner reported Tuesday that: "Sys-con Media listened to what I and my fellow editors, their advertisers and the readership was saying, and made the correct decision. Maureen O'Gara's bylined material will no longer appear anywhere in the Sys-con universe of sites or publications." O'Gara's original article has been deleted.

In an earlier message posted Monday, Jones said: "I never agreed to be a public person. I don't want to be, and I have a human and a legal right to privacy. Just because you decide to blog, it doesn't rob you of your rights as a private person." Groklaw became a well-read news site as a result of its exhaustive coverage of the SCO and IBM lawsuit.

O'Gara is a well-known technology journalist who broke the news two years ago that the SCO Group had hired David Boies to pursue a legal strategy against Linux.