Palaces For The People
Wednesday, June 02, 2004
MEET JAMES V. DELONG, a real skunk.

MEET JAMES V. DELONG, a real skunk.

... James V. DeLong is Vice President and General Counsel of the National Legal Center for the Public Interest in Washington, D.C. ... Click to see his recent statement to the House Judiciary Committee on Intellectual Property and Antitrust Enforcement. ...

James V. DeLong is Director of the Center for the Study of Digital Property at the Progress and Freedom Foundation and Principal for the Regulatory Policy Center. Prior to joining PFF, he was a Senior Fellow at the COMPETITIVE ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE working on the Project on Technology and Innovation. ...

* Recipients by amount granted by the David H. KOCH Foundation -- Competitive Enterprise Institute $315,000
* Recipients by amount granted by the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation (KOCH) -- Competitive Enterprise Institute $254,460
* Recipients by amount granted by the Carthage Foundation (SCAIFE) -- Competitive Enterprise Institute $60,000
* Recipients by amount granted by the SCAIFE Family Foundation -- Competitive Enterprise Institute $350,000
* Recipients by amount granted by the Sarah SCAIFE Foundation -- Competitive Enterprise Institute $1,115,000

(photo) Jim Delong of the libertarian COMPETITIVE ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE at MICROSOFT 25th anniversary party. (September 24, 2003)

A $48,860 donation, March, 2001, from Microsoft to COMPETITIVE ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE during DeLong's employment there.
Is Bill Gates' nightmare over? Nov. 2, 2001

"It seems like a reasonable settlement to me. The government got more than I think it should have under the Court of Appeals decision, which really left the case in shreds. But Microsoft could agree to all of this without damaging itself too much. Microsoft has claimed to be interested in being open and competitive and this codifies that stance."

"Overall it's a victory for Microsoft and it's a victory for the economy in that it removes the uncertainty."

Pirates and Posses: The Battle Over Digital Copyright ... October 23, 2002 ... [panelist] James V. Delong, Competitive Enterprise Institute...

... As the Internet has grown, digital technologies have made it increasingly easy to copy and distribute creative works without payment. Expanding "peer-to-peer" systems such as KaZaA allow millions of Americans to download movies and music free of charge. Copyright owners crying "foul," saying their property is being stolen, and incentives to create stunted. But what, if anything, should be done? ... Please join us on October 23, as our panelists, representing a range of viewpoints, discuss these issues at a lunchtime forum.
The Heritage Foundation > About Heritage > Departments > Board of Trustees

* Richard M. SCAIFE, Heritage Trustee Since 1985, Vice Chairman ... on the boards of the Hoover Institution, Pepperdine University and other ... he chairs the SARAH SCAIFE FOUNDATION, THE ALLEGHENY FOUNDATION AND THE CARTHAGE FOUNDATION.

* Robert J. Herbold, Heritage Trustee Since 2003 ... MICROSOFT’s recently retired chief operating officer, ... the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. ... He also works part time for MICROSOFT as an executive vice president, assisting in the government, industry and customer areas.

... TOWN HALL [] is the first truly interactive community to bring Internet users and public policy organizations together under the broad umbrella of conservative thoughts, ideas, and actions. ...

* Regulatory Policy Center, founded by REASON Contributing Editor JAMES V. DELONG offers useful information on intellectual property, cyberspace regulation, environmental issues, and other topics dealing with regulatory policy.

Progress & Freedom Foundation, Officers and Executives: JAMES V. DELONG , Senior fellow, director the Center for the Study of Digital Property.

Periodicals: Aspen, E-Commerce, Telecom, Energy, Antitrust, IP

Jim DeLong is a senior fellow at The PROGRESS & FREEDOM FOUNDATION where he directs the Center for the Study of Digital Property. Before joining the Foundation, DeLong was senior fellow at the COMPETITIVE ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE. He also served as general counsel of the National Legal Center for the Public Interest, research director of the Administrative Conference of the United States and assistant director for special projects in the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the FTC. ...

... Unlike traditional think tanks, TECH CENTRAL STATION is organized as a limited liability corporation--that is, a for-profit business. As an LLC, there is little TECH CENTRAL STATION must publicly disclose about itself save for the names and addresses of its owners, and there is no presumption, legal or otherwise, that it exists to serve the public interest. Likewise, rather than advertisers per se, TCS has what it calls "sponsors," which are thanked prominently in a section one click away from the front page of the site. (AT&T, ExxonMobil, and MICROSOFT were early supporters; General Motors, Intel, McDonalds, NASDAQ, National Semiconductor, and Qualcomm, as well as the drug industry trade association, PhRMA, joined during the past year.) Each firm pays a sponsorship fee--although neither Glassman nor any of the sponsors would disclose how much--and gets banner advertisements on the site. ... A MICROSOFT representative explained that the company "is constantly looking for ways to educate on some of the critical and important issues in the technology sector." ...

... Four of the five co-owners of TCS are also the co-owners of the DCI Group, the Washington public affairs firm founded by Republican operative Thomas J. Synhorst. TCS's fifth owner is Charles Francis, who is also a senior lobbyist at DCI and is listed on TCS's phone directory. And as it happens, three of TCS's sponsors--AT&T, General Motors, and PhRMA--have also retained DCI for their lobbying needs. (Both DCI's spokeswoman and TCS's chief executive officer declined to be interviewed for this article. However, after I requested comment, the Web site was changed. Where it formerly stated that "TECH CENTRAL STATION is published by Tech Central Station, L.L.C.," it now reads "Tech Central Station is published by DCI Group, L.L.C.") ...

Dr. SALLIE BALIUNAS, Co-Host (George C. Marshall Institute, Greening Earth Society);
Dr. WILLIE SOON, Science Director (George C. Marshall Institute, Greening Earth Society);
Ken Adelman, Co-Host;
Alan Oxley, Co-Host, TCS Asia-Pacific;
Justin Peterson, CEO;
Eric Bovim, Director of Operations;
Ryan Grillo, Deputy Director of Operations.


Software Wars: Open Source And The New York Times
by James V. DeLong
September 19, 2002

... A second problem is the creation of applications for Linux. The General Public License that controls the program’s distribution can be paraphrased as "thou shalt not charge for this program and its source code shall be public." This license is also viral; if you write an ap for Linux, and incorporate any code covered by the GPL, then your ap is also subject to the GPL, and it too becomes open source and free.

True open source believers think that this is just fine -- all aps should be open and free. But it is not clear that the freeware spirit, or the IT/university willingness to subsidize, runs deep enough to provide anything approaching the number of aps available for Windows, where good old reliable greed creates an incentive for developers. The Linux community is moving toward proprietary aps, but it is chancy. Writing aps without incorporating some operating system code is difficult, and those who want to engraft proprietary aps onto Linux are taking a legal risk.

Finally, governments should not treat this as an arena for industrial policy. The incentives fueling the Linux movement are not necessarily those required for long-term production of software suited for the public as well as the nerds. Governments, which are as naïve as editorial writers, should keep their hands off.

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Today Linux, Tomorrow the World?
By James V. DeLong Published 01/22/2004


The term "open source" means, at its most fundamental, that the code is not secret but public, and thus available for scrutiny. However, the term has acquired some additional meanings. To be regarded as "Open Source" in the computer community, a program must also be available for modification and for unlimited redistribution. The keeper of the flame is the Open Source Initiative, which has criteria and certifies which of the many available software licenses qualify. ...

... "Model of Production"?

The problem is that each of these insights comes with a "but" that makes the concept of open source as a "model of production" exceedingly dubious.

While the Internet can dramatically decrease search costs and agglomerate information, the size of the net it casts can increase other costs, such as filtering and processing. And if the combined contributions of a large number of people can be valuable, it is also certain that not all of them will be so, and that some of them will even be malicious, which means that policing is required. The cost equation has many terms.

Further, the model of major software programs composed by in-kind investment of minor amounts of time by thousands of people turns out to be a myth. Browse through MIT's papers on open source, and it becomes clear that every serious program is produced by a highly professional core augmented, largely in the bug report stage, by a user community. The Internet allows this core to be dispersed, and it can be larger than it might have been some years ago, but the basic model of professionalism remains.

Nor is the story of creativity bubbling up from the horde of Internet users entirely accurate. The open source movement is indeed filled with able and creative people, but current programs are off-shoots of Unix, which was developed with billions of dollars from Bell Labs, DARPA, corporations, and universities. None were created from scratch by unpaid labor working at night. And given the merciless numbers on software productivity, none will be. (Very roughly, a professional programmer can produce about 1000 lines of polished code in a year. A distribution of Windows or Linux has 30 million lines.) ...

... Resource Curse

This brings us to one main problem with open source theory, which is resources. The open source community approaches the need for financing the way Victorians approached sex. Everyone knows you need it to produce more little Victorians, but discussion is kept to a minimum.

When it becomes absolutely unavoidable to discuss support, the open source theorists talk about "indirect appropriation," whereby getting a reputation for solving a software problem might get you hired to solve a similar problem, or where high productivity gets you academic tenure. Or a software programmer writes proprietary works for an employer during the week while doing open source on Sundays. In the background is some economic activity that actually pays the bills while the creator cadges bits of time to engage in his hobby. Or, for the professionalized core, there is some economic entity willing to subsidize the enterprise for its own purposes.

Even for software, the workability of this model is not a slam dunk, and in the software area some very big companies have strong reasons to support the open source movement, as they are indeed doing. IBM, HP, Sun, Dell, and others are putting in billions of dollars, and this is what keeps Linux afloat. ...

... Where the movement is producing interesting things, it is doing so with heavy funding from academia, foundations, or corporations, and it is far from clear why such funding is superior in any way -- practically or morally -- to funding through market processes.

Socialization of the Creative Sector

The open source theorists know perfectly well that the model might translate to academia, but not beyond that. ... It is also not even open source, particularly; it is just socialization of the creative sector.

The big question is, Why would anyone want to go down this road? As noted before in these pages, the concept that "price should equal marginal cost even when that is zero" is a product of an artificial logic from which all the reality has been stripped, and is virtually irrelevant to an investment-centered economy.

The characteristics of the Internet cited as enabling open source also allow the creation of vastly improved markets. People from all over the world will be able to use micropayments and digital rights management to pool their resources and support their favorite bands, movies, books, magazines, or weblogs The open source advocates miss the fact that markets are also communities, and far more efficient and moral ones than are the mythical realms of academic dreaming.

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Peddling Dope: Open Source Drug Development
By James V. Delong Published 05/18/2004

... A major weakness of the Love/Hubbard proposal is in its assumption that open source software is an example of the production of an important economic good by the actions of people operating outside of the economic system and free of the crass constraints of financial considerations. Much open source software is technically fine, and its development represents a complicated and interesting phenomenon, but this immaculate conception version of its origin and contemporary situation bears about as much relationship to reality as the legend of Camelot bears to the reality of Dark Ages Britain. (For more of this history than you probably want to know, see The Enigma of Open Source Software.)

To begin, all current open source programs, included Linux, which is the flagship of the movement, are variants or dependencies of the Unix operating system developed by the great Bell Laboratories in the 1970s. Bell was, of course, a well-funded part of AT&T, which, under government compulsion, licensed Unix to all comers at bargain rates. Thereafter, hundreds of millions of dollars were spent on developing it, with money coming from multiple IT companies, universities, and DARPA.

In the course of this development, Unix splintered badly, and a major benefit of Linux, which was indeed developed from the bottom up in the 1990s, was to provide a standard form of Unix around which the community could rally.

But Linux did not go big time until a couple of years ago, after IBM made a strategic decision to support its continuing development and marketing with billions of dollars, a move which forced other hardware companies, such as HP, Sun, and Dell, to follow.

IBM is not an eleemosynary institution, and it did this for good commendable motives of capitalist greed and a desire to dish its competitors, including Sun and Microsoft. As industry observer Joel Spolsky noted, the "myth" is that "Lou Gerstner read [an open source] manifesto and decided he does not actually like capitalism," whereas the reality is that "IBM needs to commoditize enterprise software" so as to promote their consulting division and "the best way to do this is by promoting open source."

At present, most of the work on Linux is being performed by a relatively small cadre of people, almost all of whom are on someone's payroll for respectable money. Serious writing and maintenance of software that can power the world's business is not an activity for hackers who flip hamburgers and sleep on steam grates to support their hobby. In other words, it requires an economic process running in the background to support the programmers. ...


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