His brain seems to be wired up differently: He's frustrating, he's terrible at people skills, and he'd walk 10 miles out his way to avoid bending a minor ethical principle. Even when I disagree with one of his ethical principles, I do admire him for being committed to what he believes. I suspect he could have made a very profitable business off of GCC in the 80s—it was a remarkably good compiler for several chips back in the day—but he preferred to focus on writing more free software.
I've spoken with FSF staff in the past, and their attitude towards Stallman often seems to combine admiration and frustration. They work with him regularly, and most of them are fairly typical free software developers. They generally seem to believe that world has room for somebody like Stallman, who's horrible at PR but who takes principled stands.
We need more people like that not less unfortunately they often get creamed by the people who are unwilling to take a stand but pretty good at PR.
In the realm of politics you can see that happening now in the UK with Jeremy Corbyn (principled even if you disagree with his politics) and the way the press treats him.
More of his caliber.
He ain't writing strict legal discourse, he's writing out his own feelings in the way he feels most enjoyable. Personally I respect that.
For myself: I don't like using words like f*, and I prefer to censor them if I do use them, and I'd rather call someone a goob, instead of an idiot or a moron. My intent isn't to be mean!
Uber to Guber isn't that bad?
Elon Musk has almost "manifest destiny" ideas about the inherent goodness of America. He talks about the virtues of unfettered capitalism while his lobbyists keep India from playing in American satellite markets. He donated to Marco Rubio as well as to democrat candidates.
I don't think Musk is particularly principled. We're just lucky that he thinks rockets and alternative energy are cool.
He has achieved great financial, business, and technology successes and is a visionary, but let's not confuse that with being a role model or hero to be emulated.
Stallman on the other hand gets nothing but respect from me for his personal integrity and values.
> He talks about the virtues of unfettered capitalism while his lobbyists keep India from playing in American satellite markets.
Another sells self driving electric cars and may even stop global warming.
Which pretty much sounds like Bernie Sanders/Jeremy Corbyn, alas it doesn't seem to be enough these days.
Every single piece Stallman writes would be stronger if someone would say "take out the Goober bit" or "take out the Swindle" bit or whatever other goofy names he comes up with.
This 4th grade stuff just weakens his essays. It isn't good, it doesn't need to be there. All it tells me is that he's not running his stuff by anyone who'll challenge him to make his writing stronger.
One of my favorite RMS quotes. We need people like him to fill out the spectrum.
The irony is that if he had made a business out of it, he could have had much more influence.
A company like this was born cause Taxi's sucked in the first place. Taxis were inefficient, cab drivers can have racial prejudices and leave someone in a dangerous area cause they don't like the way they look, No feedback on cab drivers etc. So Uber came into a place that needed re-work and instead of people complaining about Uber's world domination and the cost of it, why won't people work to also change Uber the way it changed the world of Taxis?
I think informational posts like this are great, but the tone of it is off-putting.
So do riders!
I've always claimed that one of the primary reasons Uber is popular is because its drivers are predominantly white or Asian.
In contrast, many taxi companies employ immigrants from places like India and Africa, who often times have their culture in full display in front of the rider (wearing non-Western clothing, talking loudly on the phone in another language, having various cultural/religious decorations/texts around the car, etc.) all of which your average American views with a certain level of disdain.
Not in my experience.
If I see that I might have to sign a contributor agreement (often not in some straightforward manner, but involves reading multiple documents, postal mail, is only tangentially related to the core GNU product etc.) my first choice is usually just not to contribute. I hear myself saying internally "I don't want to have to deal with those people". Seems to me that this damages the Free Software world.
Also, the process has recently been transformed to be completely over email:
Great to hear everything can be done electronically now. It was only a couple of weeks ago that I last checked and found the postal instructions.
Only if you already knew the difference between what Google asks you to sign when you submit patches to Chrome and what the FSF asks you to sign. If you want to call them both "CLAs", fine, but at least I hope you understand now how they're fundamentally very different. Not every bit of legalese is the same just because it's annoying legalese that you'd rather not have to deal with.
They can't use that to retroactively close off submitted works, but project using other licenses can't do that either.
> They can't use that to retroactively close off submitted works, but project using other licenses can't do that either.
I don't understand this sentence, can you elaborate? Who can use what to retroactively lock up what, and what other licences do not allow what?
Unfortunately, he just isn't overly successful / good at it. If you agree with him on the points, a better approach would be constructive criticism, i.e. thinking about ways of changing the framing of debates that might be more successful.
Wanting to call Uber 'Goober' or 'Guber' on the other hand, is just childish, and makes it hard to take anything else he says seriously.
I mean, just look at the name - Uber. What does it mean? Superior, the best, etc. Ubermensch - "This place is uber cool!". I think if you're using the name and trying to criticize it, the name itself is contradicting and undermining your point every time you bring it up.
Maybe something like "Goober" is too far and silly. Maybe just use something neutral like "Ride-Sharing App U".
Goober is slang for peanut. He was making a joke.
Some might even call this a feature -- such cognitive shortcuts and heuristics allow us to assess threats in our environment, enjoy the warmth and aesthetics of a newly purchased jacket, or complete a shopping trip to the grocery store in a reasonable amount of time.
Through large efforts of will we can begin to become aware of this in ourselves, and then attempt to mitigate the negatives to a small degree. However, we can't do much beyond that.
GINU -- Ginu Is Not Uber
What's their deal? Are they just getting started?
> With real taxis, you can flag one on the street or phone in any fashion; you can pay cash; you can be anonymous.
The problem is that real Taxis only troll popular areas, and when you call for a pickup they aren't incentivized to actually arrive in a timely manner.
Uber/Lyft fixed this problem in a simple and elegant way. It's the value of the service and UX of asking for a car and getting it, unlike Taxis.
See: Trump vis-à-vis "crooked Hillary."
I once pulled up to a bar 2 minutes after getting a call. The passenger got in the cab, and the passenger's (male) friend had assumed the pose that marked him as waiting for a 'ride'. (The observation is typically used by scumbags in Scottsdale to trick women waiting for a 'ride' into getting into random cars, which is why the taxi company I drove for lobbied to force ride-vehicles to have some sort of branding.)
Me: is your friend waiting for a 'duper?
Passenger: 'duper? (Confusion, then...) do you mean UBER?
Me: FRIENDS don't let friends get DUPED by eww-ber!
Really, though... "Ridesharing" is unsustainable for many reasons, the main one being that cars are expensive, and should the economy rebound, people won't be willing to wear out their cars for peanuts.
I'm sure that the cost and bother to the competition had nothing to do with that lobbying effort.
1. public safety.
Rideshare companies had no infrastructure for basic safety inspections, so they didn't think it was important.
Rideshare drivers had no insurance contract for the time they were on the clock. 'Duper said "we've got you covered", but their drivers didn't have any paperwork supporting this claim. The taxi company lobbied to force the ridesharing companies to provide certificates of insurance to their contractors, so that if their driver was involved in an accident they could provide the ridesharing company's insurance information, instead of their personal policy.
Denying that taxicab companies lobby their own self-interest is completely unbelievable. All that is missing is to get "for the children" in there somehow and it'd be a perfect political BS speech.
No, I mean I get the point where taxicabs, being regulated up the wazoo, think that if they have to del with all that, why competition hasn't. But trying to sell the idea they are just saints looking for public's good and it has nothing to do with their own interest... right. Not buying that bridge.
Freeloading hurts everyone.
Plus, in 10 years we have robot cars and the economics totally shift.
The taxi company I drove for also lobbied to force 'duper's vehicles to be inspected by mechanics... Semi-annually, iirc.
Edit: the inspections were probably mandated every 3 months (quarterly); the taxi company inspected its version of ride-share vehicles bi-monthly (iirc), which just cost their drivers time (because the mechanics were already employed by the taxi company), whereas an inspection was another cost for 'duper drivers.
I don't get the reference, but then again https://stallman.org/harry-potter.html ;)
If you really want to discuss semantic I believe the point he raises on the "sharing economy" term being spun is much more worth talking about.
I mean, he's totally correct about the sharing economy stuff and I think "piecework subcontractor economy" is a way better description of the --but I literally can't send this to anybody I know because they'll think I agree with the childishness. This is kind of like an amplified version of the LessWrong silliness--when you have an epistemic closure in which you start redefining basic tents, you have to tone it down when you're talking to normal people or you sound like the kind of crazy person who'd you expect to be raving at you in the streets.
PR matters. If Stallman wants to just wave his hands in the air for the rest of his life, more power to him, but I'd think he'd want to actually achieve some of the goals he says he does.
Then again, he thinks taxis are a positive just because you can pay cash, and he lives near me so he has been exposed to the fine (cough hack wheeze) hackney cabs of the Boston area, so I'm not sure we're even living in the same universe at the basic level.
Freedom is always limited by the rights of others. Always. You are not "free" to punch people in the face or "free" to be a harmful member of society. Copyleft is just a way to ensure that you can never take away others' freedom, to secure the rights of people other than yourself. It is not a redefinition of freedom.
This is what people mean when they say Stallman is trying to redefine "free."
I don't think so. I usually hear this argument from weak free license advocates who specifically object to the GPL, not to calling free software "free". Even anti-GPL advocates like OpenBSD and FreeBSD call their software free, because they're both older than the term "open source" and because they think they're free-er than the GPL, and they really do mean "unfettered" when they say "free".
Everyone knows that "free" has two meanings, and free software isn't even a term that Stallman coined. It was called that before he came along, because there was no other name for open source. He just insisted on it.
It's the same spirit that led him to use the word "copyleft."
This country just elected Trump. Yes, I think we are back in fourth grade now.
AirBnB and Uber are both profiting from "disruptive innovation," or rather facilitating illegal actions. Both benefit the consumer but damage the community. It's like buying a stolen bicycle.
AirBnB: Transforms residential housing into (in most jurisdictions) illegal hotels. Ask a local renter in NY or YVR how that's working out for them.
Uber: Losing crazy amounts of VC cash to [often illegally] compete against traditional companies that must be cashflow positive. It's not a level playing field. Laws exist so that drivers could make a livable wage; Uber is devaluing the medallions they've invested in.
Is this really how we want the world to see us?
Real disruptive innovations already have huge social implications: autonomous vehicle fleets, mobile phones, data collection/mining, machine learning, CRISPR, cryptocurrency - the list is very long.
Why do we elevate companies like AirBnB and Uber that circumvent laws for profit to be our champions and unicorns?
This is a very disingenuous statement, because it is illegal only because it's made illegal to kill the service model they are using. It's like GM sponsoring a law banning Toyotas and then saying - well, look at those criminals - they are making illegal stuff! How shameful of them! No, it's shameful to use the law as a club to bash competition and prevent innovation instead of what it was meant to - to protect people from harm.
> Losing crazy amounts of VC cash to compete against traditional companies that must be cashflow positive.
So borrowing money from investors to compete with somebody is now a despicable thing, maybe even a crime?
> It's not a level playing field.
Sure it is. Level playing field does not mean everybody has the same sum of money.
> Uber is devaluing the medallions they've invested in.
The value of medallions was created by artificially choking the market until what was supposed to be simple permit issue to open a business now is a million-dollar investment way out of the reach of a common person. On the way creating a severe shortage in services and severe price distortions, since drivers now have to cover the costs of there million-dollar medallions.
> Is this really how we want the world to see us?
As people trying new things instead of just doing what always been done and letting incumbent interests tell us they are there for our own good and don't dare to question them? Sure thing!
Running at financial loss just to drive prices down so you can kill competition is at least unethical in my book. Also I believe it is illegal, for good reasons, in some countries.
It's idiotic to allow these unicorns to destroy existing businesses only to screw customers later on. They are not moving the world forward in any manner. It is just a power grab.
At best we will end up replacing many small businesses with behemoths with a virtually limitless lobbying powers.
I don't believe such strategy can work. Screwing you customers is an extremely bad business practice, and it only works if your competition faces very high entry barriers or prohibited altogether, e.g. by law or regulation. Otherwise you'd either have to lower your prices each time new startup comes around, or you quickly get your market share eaten, as it happens now to taxi monopoly.
> At best we will end up replacing many small businesses
Taxi medallions are not controlled by small businesses. With their prices (before Uber), they can't be. Small business doesn't have that kind of money.
1. Once they are big enough they can sell at loss or razor thin margins at the expense of employees(see Amazon) which in itself becomes a barrier to entrry. Most of the new small competition will die out during this phase of being discovered by customers or will face a constant cash flow crisis since incumbent can wait them out.
2. Do not underestimate the power of inertia. Let's take an example of Microsoft. For how many years IE was left to rot once they destroyed Mozilla?
Did Microsoft go out of business or fail in anyways? I guess no and don't forget it took another behemoth Google to fight the it out in the form of first supporting Mozilla and then coming up with their own browser.
> Taxi medallions are not controlled by small businesses. With their prices (before Uber), they can't be. Small business doesn't have that kind of money.
Probably they are their own local monopolies not but how replacing them with with one big all encompassing entity is a solution?
This is an anecdote but it happened to me few months back. I ordered an Uber but when it didn't arrive in time, I canceled it. Next time when I took Uber they just added a charge to my current bill silently without any intimation. I had to call them and go though half an hour of explaining. After that only they agreed to adjust the amount in my next bill. There was no option to get my cash back if I wanted my money. In my view this is no different than taxi nexus and once they are the o
> At best we will end up replacing many small businesses with behemoths with a virtually limitless lobbying powers.
Small business has had a hard time for a while now, suffering under corporate business models, greatly helped by the government. I always seem to come back to banks as examples, but they are a good example. These financial institutions that got bailed out... if they weren't bailed out, if the government allowed the market to correct itself and let those businesses fail (these behemoths), it would facilitate or at least allow for the rise of many small businesses to replace them.
That's just one example of how the current government/corporate business model hurts small business. How many small businesses were bailed out? Trillions spent to save the institutions that created the crisis in the first place.
> The Fair Labor Standards Act does not apply the minimum wage payment requirement to independent contractors. However, merely classifying a person as a contractor instead of an employee does not automatically keep the worker from being considered an employee entitled to minimum wage. Since improperly classifying a worker as a contractor carries with it legal repercussions, you must fully examine the work a person will take on for your company and compare it to labor standards.
There are a lot of talk that Trump is going to break up some of the Silicon Valley companies up. Especially the ones who don't care about American jobs.
Just my opinion, but these are two groups that appear to have contributed less to Trump's success than to previous Republican candidates' (in the case of mainstream Republican politicians - actively attempting to thwart him). I think he is actually less beholden to these groups than past Republican presidents were.
It is certainly not illegal. That would only happen in an extremely regulated market.
Which ethical principle does it violate?
You're still missing (or strawmanning) the order of the events parent is referring to.
An analogy would be closer to the US deciding headlights were a required safety feature. Then at some point after that Chrysler realizes they can duct tape glow sticks to the bonnet and cut costs.
Doing so is illegal, they knew it would be illegal, and they still chose to make it their business model.
Whether the laws being broken serve a societal purpose is another question, but one that can't be hand waived away by saying "Some laws are bad. AirBnB has legal troubles. Therefore the laws AirBnB is breaking are bad."
Forcing the law to change and catch up with the times can therefore be seen as an important public service.
I think the exasperation I (and others) seem to have with AirBnB/Uber/their supporters' sometimes-arguments are that they skip right over the "changing the law" piece. That's a pain in the ass and a lot of drudgery to be sure. But personally, I prefer to live in a society with a moderate amount of respect for the rule of all laws. Because the alternative of getting into a front-on collision at night with an unlit car sucks.
I dont think were gonna get rid of that in the next 4 years.
I absolutely agree. I'm no fan of Uber or Airbnb but I still side with them on a lot of issues (except Uber or airbnb requiring you to accept any and every customer in the name of anti discrimination).
I reject the idea that traditional taxis are safer than Uber. I reject the idea that Airbnb makes our communities less secure. My understanding of Airbnb is bringing someone to share my house where they have their own room but I'm still in the building. YMMV when it comes to most Airbnb use cases where the host is in a different state and uses Airbnb full time.
The reason I support these companies even though I don't like them is that I feel helpless against the regulatory capture. Taxi service doesn't exist to promote employment of taxi drivers. I think the medallion holders should ask TLC for their money back they paid for their medallions. Screw this whole charade about employment. If the only way to fight against regulatory capture is big companies breaking laws, I fully support big companies breaking those stupid laws. If I were in a jury about any such case, I'd likely vote to acquit.
One of the bigger reasons for medallions is congestion control. For-hire private transportation provides a financial incentive to have more cars on the road. This system will only begin to self-correct after the point of gridlock (assuming that taxis lose money while in gridlock), or not at all (if they get paid to sit in traffic). If that sounds like a future you want, you can go down to Panama and enjoy it any time. If it's all the same to you though I'd prefer not to import third-world living conditions.
It's meant to avoid overuse of some shared facilities (loading dock, etc), having to reexplain the rules we all agreed on every other day, improve the sense of community, and all around make it nice for everyone to enjoy their apartment and live with each other.
If they go out and airbnb their unit out, it's not the hotel industry they're hurting. It's their neighbors, community, and they're breaching rules they specifically agreed to.
> So borrowing money from investors to compete with somebody is now a despicable thing, maybe even a crime?
That's considered economic dumping and is likely a net negative in the end. They ruin the competition by operating at a loss and then collect rent when they are the only ones left.
Business models which are based on undercutting the competition by ignoring the regulation concerned with safety of end user.
The analogy in your case would be GM sponsoring a law that says that if you want to build cars, you have to e.g. include seatbelts or not pump carbon monoxide into the air. That is a perfectly good law for GM to be sponsoring, even if it does inhibit competition.
It's not about safety or interests of anybody else, it's about who the money goes to.
(Can we use Airbnb celebrating the other side as evidence that Airbnb's preferred laws don't serve visitors, they serve the VC lobby?)
On the contrary - Uber likes to say that it's fighting against the unjust laws in London that require drivers to take an obsolete test of all roads in the city.
In reality, they would have been exempt from that law as long as they provided fixed price quotes in advance. (Uber provides "estimates", but not fixed quotes).
They actively chose to structure their business model this way because providing estimates instead of fixed quotes allows for better customer acquisition, and they'd rather compete against medallion cars because it's an easier market to undercut if you have the VC cash to spend tens of millions in lobbying and lawyer fees just in that one city (as they have).
London minicabs are terrible compared to Uber (unreliable, unavailable, no QA), while black cabs are absurdly overpriced. There's an obvious gap in the middle which is caused by protectionist legislation.
To compete "in all cases", no. To compete against mom and pops -- that's a different matter altogether.
maybe even a crime?
That's not what the commenter was saying.
If you have any doubts about this, ask a medallion holder how they go into the business (which I've done a fair amount of in various cities, in the past couple of years since Uber/Lyft got big). In effect a "medallion" is a lot like a permit to park your food truck in a certain place, or a lease on a corner store. And a lot of these people either invest their life savings (or sometimes the life savings of extended family members), and/or go very seriously into debt in order to purchase one of these "permits". And whose nest eggs Uber et al would very much like to "disrupt", at massive scale (literally in all corners of the globe) in order to validate their Weltanschaung (and of course, get stinking rich).
Yes I know these services also bring (significantly) greater efficiency and experience, and perhaps better working conditions and financial security -- for some current medallion holders.
But it would be naive to suppose that all of them stand to benefit; most likely there will be many losers as well -- by which I mean: bankrupted, in middle age, with a laughable pension and no savings -- before the dust settles.
Various jurisdictions may be tightening up laws, and the original intent of AirBnB may not have been anything illegal, but the way it has developed it does promote activities that were never legal to begin with in most jurisdictions. And renting your home out via AirBnB can void your homeowner's insurance because it is commercial use of a residential property. Many people do not realize this and do not notify their insurance company and only find it out if an AirBnB tenant damages something, they try to file a claim and get told "You aren't covered for that and, now, you aren't covered at all."
I have not paid real close attention, but my understanding is that this started as more like a paid form of couch surfing or a means to find a short term roommate and then someone eventually asked "Can I just list my entire property for rent, rather than just a portion of it?" and now that format is most of their listings.
So, as I understand it, they kind of slippery sloped their way into their current model. But their current model is basically illegal in most jurisdictions and always has been.
Some jurisdictions may be tightening up laws to make it easier to combat and perhaps that is the wrong way to handle this because it fosters misconceptions of the type you have. But residential property was never meant to be treated like a hotel and the fact that the internet makes it possible to do so in ways that were never before possible does not change the fact that rules concerning residential property is intentionally different from rules for commercial property and always have been.
I generally try to stay out of discussions about AirBnB. I don't think the founders are nefarious people who intentionally tried to do anything bad. I think this very much was a case of slippery slope. Like a lot of slippery slopes, it started out as not necessarily a bad thing but has gradually turned into something seriously problematic.
As they say: The devil is in the details. Law is very often all about insidious details. When the people who run AirBnB agreed to something that was not part of their original vision and then that happened to work to rake in the dough, well, they are responsible for what they agreed to without apparently really thinking it through carefully enough. I get the appeal of that, but it doesn't make it right that they were just trying to make money and not intentionally trying to fuck up entire cities. I am totally fine with the existing war on AirBnB.
Rather than acting all surprised and like cities are being unreasonable, maybe they should rethink their business model and stop behaving like Theranos and basically demanding that the world rise up and drag them out of there kicking and screaming because the allure of the all important goddamn dollar is too fucking strong for them to care about what their business model does to the fabric of entire cities. "Not their problem -- LA LA LA NOT LISTENING" all the way to the bank.
So I lost a lot of money. Long term policy specifies that you must pay 30 days starting from the cancellation day.
And I was stuck in Morocco with my 12 month old.
Luckily we found a better property. However, Airbnb not refunding me showed that 1) They have no actual understanding of the state of the property 2) They don't care.
The disproportion between the reviews and my experience and their unwillingness to be fair totally ruined my faith in Airbnb.
Some things you simply don't notice at first sight (e.g tiny painting particles falling from the roof, cockroaches, a broken dishwasher..).
If Airbnb's review system were honest, this wouldn't be an issue, probably. In my experience, hotel reviews are magnitudes more reliable.
This is two separate points. The one about dumping / running at a loss to remove competition makes sense.
But the one about taxi medallions and a "livable wage"? Yeah, that one's bullshit. Limiting supply (of anything!) to jack up prices is not a good-for-society practice.
Huge part of this is actually state over-regulation. People just can't build houses. If local folks can earn some money on the side by renting out their houses, this is a good thing. Why tourists should be forced to pay for over-expensive hotels?
Instead of pressing companies like AirBnB, people should press governments to remove regulations that are not necessary only serve to hire civil servants out of family members of ruling parties (not to mention pocketing bribes to give permissions to build) and make the money for the privileged.
By asking for even more regulation, you are just tightening the loop on your neck.
Because the costs of those tourists being is not on the owner of the flat, but their neighbours - who've bought or rented their homes with the expectation of a residential area, not living next to a hotel.
Zoning laws are not arbitrary rent-seeking enablers; they're protection against damaging behaviour that is difficult to enforce on a case-by-case basis.
Who cares as long as the tourists are respectful? I never understood this line of reasoning. You could end up living next to a nightmare neighbour too and the suffering would be long term as you're stuck with them.
They're also am excellent way to separate people out according to social class / lifestyle.
Well, if you are xenophobic then maybe you should buy a farm somewhere nowhere when you won't be seeing strangers.
I wouldn't want to live next to any hotel, including a 5 start resort catering to mostly domestic customers.
Hotels bring a lot of problems -- bursts of foot/auto traffic at weird times of the night, public drinking/drunkenness and loud groups of pedestrians on week nights, etc.
Nothing wrong with any of that -- vacations should be fun! -- but when it's happening every other Tuesday night in the next-door apartment, it can get super annoying.
They're entirely avoidable. I live in central london, and I've never had any issues with neighbours until I moved to a flat where the landlord upstairs decided to just full-time airbnb the place, rather than rent to someone permanent.
Tourists are way more inconsiderate of neighbours. It makes sense - they're never going to meet us, they're just here to have fun. But pretending it has no impact on the quality of the area is silly.
> Tourists are way more inconsiderate of neighbours.
You cannot generalise. If tourists are making noises then there are anti social reporting services that you can use.
Airbnb is not only for tourists, but it is used by people who just moved in and are looking for a place to rent and don't want to spend fortune on hotels or for example it is a great alternative for contractors - having for example 1 month assignment, why spend money on hotel?
This is not my experience. Even in urban areas I've lived places that are not like this.
I'm sure that's some sort of xenophobia.
It's a great solution, until people start defecting and creating things like airbnb.
To put it another way: some people drive while intoxicated, but drinking alcohol is still legal.
Once a replacement solution is implemented, I'm happy to start arguing for airbnb to be legal. Though it seems like it would likely eliminate the price advantage that airbnbs currently enjoy.
(not a rhetorical question)
In the AirBNB situation, the police could be giving a citation to a different person from weekend to weekend. If it were a traditional rental, the landlord could force the offenders out: But I'm not sure if there is much legal recourse for a series of short-term rentals being loud.
And some of the noise isn't such that you can get legal help. Loud vehicles and people banging luggage up and down stairs is one of those disturbing things that is over by the time you call the cops. What then?
I'm thinking of all the annoying neighbor situations I've had over the years. Luggage banging in the hallway at odd hours is mild compared to a modified motorcycle coming home at 2am.
A tenant has a right to "quiet enjoyment" so if everyone is part of the same apartment complex, you can force the landlord to take care of things. However, if you're in a row of single family homes... Didn't they make a couple movies recently about fighting with bad neighbors? Also, I don't think the cops are going to help if the neighbor slams their door when they leave home every morning at 5am or if their yappy dog is lonely most of the day.
I think we should try to create some standards for being a good neighbor. If an AirBnB host can ensure their guests meet that standard, then there's no problem.
Driving up rent is something that's probably unavoidable, but safety is something AirBNB could try to enforce if they wanted to.
Could I have gotten out in a fire? Probably. But it's definitely less obvious and less well-equipped than in a hotel for Directing unfamiliar residents out of the building
You do. See: civil disobedience.
Also, just because something is illegal doesn't mean it's wrong. A simple example were the laws against helping runaway slaves in the US. Many today would agree that helping runaway slaves was the right thing to do, but yet it was illegal. There were similar laws against helping Jews in Nazi Germany. Once again, just because you broke the law by helping a Jew wouldn't mean you did the wrong thing.
That's not to say there's any sort of moral equivalence between people (allegedly) breaking laws by participating in Uber or AirBnb and those who helped runaway slaves or Jews in Nazi Germany. They're just examples to show that breaking a law need not automatically be wrong, and that doing the right thing can be more important than obeying the law.
Finally, there are plenty of examples of stupid laws and outdated laws. Laws against sodomy or against dildos over a certain length spring to mind. Both of these existed relatively recently in the US (and possibly still exist), but they were pretty much ignored, and few people would have considered themselves to be in the wrong if they broke those laws.
 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_disobedience
It never was a level playing field, not as long as Uber has been around in any case. Taxis are propped up artificially by city laws and airport regulations and that has resulted in low competition and poor service. I don't see why Uber or its customers should have to respect the unfair city+industry collusion.
Uber use of technology is what I think separates it from airbnb and even tho they are burning investors cash they at least doing something great to improve customer experience.
It doesn't matter.
It's always important in these sorts of arguments to understand that opinions don't matter; only whether something makes economic sense or not. If indeed you're right and that what these VC funded corporations are doing is not right or 'illogical', then all you have to do is wait and watch them collapse under their own weight. However, if what they're doing is not just economically feasible but that in the process they're creating enormous value for the entire ecosystems in which they operate, then they will thrive no matter what you and I think.
Somewhat tangentially, you can extend my thoughts on this issue to clean energy solutions. Government subsidies and foundations won't provide the clean energy solutions that we need to shift away from fossil fuel. Only the private sector acting on self interest will provide clean energy solutions that will be so cheap that everyone will be forced to shift to clean energy alternatives - again due to their own self interest.
The bottom line; all actors will be lured towards what serves them best economically no matter what we feel about those choices! This reminds me of a story I read a while back about how union leaders who were protesting against Walmart and everything it stands for but because Walmart is so affordable, even they(union leaders) would go and do their shopping there as opposed to anywhere else.
Opinions matter because they affect consumer behavior. Advertising wouldn't be effective otherwise. You can take a step back and say that it makes economic sense to take into account human psychology, but it amounts to the same thing. Opinions and values have economic value.
As for economics related to clean energy, one could argue that the Clean Air Act of 1970 is comparable. Assessments in 1990 of the economic impact of the legislation provided economic benefits many times the costs. I'm not arguing for a command economy or that everything should be regulated. I do think that sometimes a governmental push can be useful.
More so, and this is potentially even more impactful, this experience doesn't change if I'm in Boston, or Melbourne ,or Shanghai. I don't need to research what the most reliable local cab company is, I don't need to worry if they're going to refuse me service because I only have a US mobile number, I don't even need to try and find a phone number - I just open the app and typically have a car in less than 10 minutes.
This is one thing that I feel often gets lost in discussions around Uber, is that it flattens the experience globally. I love this.
As long as we save money.
And at the end we, as consumer, basically don't care.
because it worked very well for paypal and we all must love everything elon musk touch/ed.
Uber, Airbnb, delivery services and the like are nothing more than glorified communication and payment tools.
These services can only be called "sharing" economy if they operate at zero profit and their app code is open source.
I think they should and pretty soon will be public services, developed by the community and run by local non profit organisations, like Firefighters.
Furthermore, these should be local services, catering to the specific circumstances of the city or town they operate in, obeying the local customs and so on.
And it's just people selling things to other people. The same thing we've been doing as a species since we understood the concept of trading, something it seems chimpanzees have a grasp of.
Take a look around and you'll find that basically every company has been trying to do that in America for a long time.
The administration staff at many businesses is all outsourced to staffing agencies.
Hiring almost everywhere is outsourced to recruiting agencies.
I know a number of multi-billion dollar corporations pumping hundreds of millions into their tech divisions, where > 95% of the employees are staffed from IT staffing agencies/consultancies.
Nobody employs a landscaper, unless they're a landscaping company.
It appears to be a big secret, but everyone contracts out everything these days. Uber is doing it on the most individual scale, in the most streamlined way I've ever seen. I don't happen to think that's as bad as everyone else does.
Then through economies of scale people became dedicated suppliers with dedicated assets, and it's now no longer that unique or altruistic.
AirBNB are different, but the way I think that they're different is not what most people think. The thing they solved which was a real problem was insurance. Sure, there's a site for booking, some scheduling and payment transfer but they're not really key. It's the fact I can go to someone's house and say "Someone has checked my identity and here's a guarantee that if I break/steal things you'll get reimbursed" that smooths over the risks.
Uber, in the UK, is virtually identical to other taxi firms.
The shared economy is (or was) more about accessing assets that were locked up by personal use, but still being underutilized. From an ethical perspective, it's maximizing value from something that wasn't easily accessible before.
In practice, consumers are ignorant about the consequences of the businesses they do business with. This exists way beyond tech to how companies consumers will spend money on for goods or services will take that money to then lobby government to harm those citizens, yet the vast majority of people are apathetic to taking responsibility for that behavior.
Hopefully we see state intervention to stop Uber for simply breaking regulations, like we saw in Austin, where in the aftermath of knowing about Uber more open communication tools were used instead because the citizenry realized they didn't need an app to have a network of drivers and customers who could rate and pay one another.
That's a very weird claim. It's like saying information economy can be called so only if everybody uses open source and nobody is making profit from information. That's just nonsense. Making profit is part of the economy - in fact, a vital part, an engine that makes the economy move, and using open source has nothing to do with this at all. I get that Stallman wants everybody to use open source - but it has nothing to do with economy. It's a moral ideal Stallman strives to, and it's fine, but economy can be economy with or without it, so can sharing economy.
> I think they should and pretty soon will be public services
They won't, unless the government forces them to and kills them by that.
> Furthermore, these should be local services, catering to the specific circumstances of the city or town they operate in, obeying the local customs and so on.
Nobody prevents you from doing that, but it's harder than you think. And on local level taxi lobby will swat such service like a fly. Uber can resist it because they are big enough to put up a fight. Volunteer non-profit service won't stand a snowball's chance in a volcano.
No it's not. Sharing is a word that has a meaning. What it's like is saying that you can't call the trade in oranges the information economy, because trading oranges has little to with information. Selling is not sharing.
Let's focus on transportation services. Yes, their technology wasn't that big of a deal. But their largest contribution is building a thriving market. And that market could be used to offer interesting services like real sharing(UberPool).
Can communities build that market on their own ? well there's little effort and in general the results aren't encouraging. Even places who put a serious effort in such services(kutsuplus service in sweden), didn't seem to sucseed , and old services like dial-a-ride didn't seem to do so well with regards to scaling or sustainability.
Of course , it's hard to speak of the sustainability of current ride services(hopefully they wouldbe), but at least they seem take us a bit further.
Meanwhile Uber is successful in Finland alright but it's illegal and not really profitable for the drivers. (It's legal if the driver has a taxi permit which is very rare.)
Maybe(altough why do people still work? ) . But again, if they(or some other model) sucseed in scaling true sharing , maybe than would be the time to intervene a bit in behalf of drivers ?
Someone else will make a better profit, of course. But enough to pay taxes, insurance, required employer costs? I don't think so.
Please no. I have precisely zero interest in downloading a new app every time I go to a city.
It's amazing how ignorant of basic economics people on HN are. Have you ever heard of economies of scale? Uber pays literally millions of dollars to their developers every year. I sure as hell don't want my taxes going to pay for my city to develop its own Uber knockoff.
Anyways, people trot out the "Stallman has consistently been right" thing for every new Stallman article, as if the fact that a guy has made a series of uncontroversial, vague predictions is some sort of defense against the rest of the comments discussing the article's acerbic tone and/or starkly impractical conclusions.
Try The Right to Read, which predicted ebooks, DRM, restrictions on reverse-engineering, electronic marketing profiles and hardware which refuses to run free operating systems — in 1997. When I first read it, I thought it was well-intentioned hysteria, but it was completely, 100% correct.
I hope no one here is surprised by this decline...
In SF: http://sfpl.org/index.php?pg=2000005001
There is a distinction between frameworks, theories and models.
Stallman is probably not offering models that contain the real predictive juice you're after because he has seen the same story unfold over and over. I give Stallman credit for referencing events that support his general theories/framework.
From what I can tell, he's sometimes right and sometimes wrong, which makes him as effective for predictions as a coin toss.
So this would lead me to guess the lower model drivers are being marginalized in order to get passengers an easier ramp (cheaper) into the Uber lifestyle. It is addicting once you start doing it, not having to park or worry about your car is pretty awesome, freeing actually as you can abstract transportation like a commodity. The company I consult for bought into Uber pretty deeply and gives some employees accounts to use whenever they need to for perks so Uber has deeply rooted into Business as well as something you should just do. But I do think the reason for this popularity has a lot to do with taking advantage of drivers' economic situation at the base-level on a thin razor line of it being just enough to be worth it to them. That's business I guess and I'm sure the line will bump up and down in response to the quality of the base-line drivers' service to keep profits strong.
If Im being honest though: your cousin needs to plan to actively get out right now. Driving uber may be OK now, but they've made it pretty clear that they will rely on autonomous vehicles and are doing everything they can to get there first.
It allows foreign corporation (uber) not paying taxes in your country to effectively taxate working people with 20% ubertax.
Big one: uber tax is proportional to ride while their cost is fixed.
Also these days in sankt petersburg or other cities in europe, uber "driver" is a guy leasing 5 cars and hiring 10.. 15 drivers to drive them 24h. Similar to waht airbnb "shared" economy became: buying bigger flat, remodellibg it to three small " studios" and try to rent 365 days a year. It would be fine if openly told and admitted, but its not what airbnb/ uber tells what it does. Also normal driver/hosts can not compete ( economy of scale) with uber/airbnb middlemen.
Also airbnb taxate country's real estate while avoiding taxes itself. Also on proportional scale while having fixed cost.
They (uber/airbnb) should be banned.
*this would ruin their business model, so they choose to lie instead.
For Uber "sharing" is a way to get around employment laws and taxi regulations.
For AirBnB it is a way to get around zoning laws and hotel regulations.
Was in St. Petersburg last month. Most Uber rides were around $4-$6.
Many of the drivers drove taxis during their regular shift.
- I take out my phone, enter an address, and five minutes later a car picks me up.
- I take out my phone, enter a time and an address and right at that time a car arrives and picks me up.
It isn't that complicated. Could taxi companies adopt these innovations? Sure, and now they are. Why didn't they before? Because they are government protected and didn't need to.
If we all just accepted the economic structures the government licenses and supports France's minitel would still be the coolest network on the planet.
Fortunately, I think we've gotten past the point in the argument where everyone realizes that it's great for the consumer (Uber running a loss to make it so) right now, but few people are talking about what it's like for the drivers as well. There's valid arguments made about how much/little they're making, at times, but that's not an inherently Uber thing. Talk to anyone in a warehouse, corner store, gas station (and a seemingly uncountable many more occupations) across the country and you have the same conversation. Market forces are driving wages down, everywhere, for everyone, doing unskilled work.
One of the key differences I'm seeing is that Uber appears to be the pinnacle of voluntary, elastic, labor - at the discretion of the laborer. If the driver doesn't want to work today, or tomorrow, or all next week; they just don't turn on the app. I'm not aware of any backlash from Uber when drivers don't log in. Try finding any other job that allows that level of autonomy. That's the most free kind of work environment I can think of, and that's value that shouldn't be ignored.
> Uber plans to do away with human cab drivers.
It would be easy for a non-plutocratic government to prohibit this, and that's what every country ought to do, unless/until every person gets an adequate basic income so people don't need to be employed.
This looks like complete Luddite statement - i.e. Uber must employ humans as drivers and government must prohibit driverless cars until there's no need to work for anybody at all. For me this sounds insane. Why don't ban bulldozers then or ATMs or factory automation or, for that matter, power looms? Until everybody gets basic income and nobody needs to be employed?
I mean I know it's Stallman, but I didn't expect him to also be a technophobe...
Actually, the fight about it seems to be that it would be a boon to "tech billionaires" more than to other sectors.
I don't mind discussing the basic income idea. What I mind is the idea that all technological improvement should cease before we have basic income because it could put some people out of their jobs. That sounds like pure technophobia and Ludd worship.
However, I think the context in a country like South Africa is different. Apart from Uber in big cities, we don't have any reliable taxis (minibus, shuttle or car). Our taxis are notoriously unroadworthy and cause many accidents and they take part in violent taxi wars.
Our car taxis at places like the airport are known to exploit unaware customers. Minibus taxis are a standard way of getting to work for many poor people, but I don't see any plans Uber has to compete with them yet.
In South Africa, Uber drivers (seemingly) earn quite a bit more money than they would be able to otherwise and they are generally very entrepreneurial people, in stark contrast to the taxi gangs.
Finally, I should point out that in many places in SA there simply were not any traditional taxi services (in the US sense), we generally only have minibus taxis. So Uber is performing a very convenient and otherwise unavailable service. Cape Town is perhaps a partial exception, and some other central city areas. But they are nowhere near Uber's efficiency.
Recently I was stuck outside of Rome with no way to get into the centre city because I made the (understandable) mistake of trying to use public transport on a public holiday, and getting stuck in the middle of nowhere with no trains running. Or taxis. Uber, to the rescue.
I really feel these days the only way to win is to compete. To build a better product that happens to also not invade your privacy. And I'm not sure there are market forces that make that possible.
RMS is not expecting everybody to read this and go "Oh, OK, I won't use Uber". He's expecting a few thousand people to read it, choose not to use Uber and then explain to their friends the reasons why echoing his own words. If convinced, those friends will pass it on, and so on, in a network effect.
You forget just how close Linux was to being ousted from the enterprise back in the 1990s and early 2000s - if it wasn't for a similar network effect (specifically arguments around security), Microsoft would now basically be "the computer company", and we'd all be screwed.
I do not think telling people "don't use uber" when it's clearly cheaper and more convenient is going to be hugely productive.
Average VC startup isn't going to be a Linux or Android as one is an outlier (like Red Hat) and other happened due to investment by corporate behemoth that was pro-OSS. Probably also an outlier given most aren't pro-OSS.
There are more options than "use it or leave it".
We, as a society, can value Uber's service, and use it, and agree to pass privacy laws that would force them, upon user request, to delete every record of their transportation history from their servers. And they would be audited. Technically it is not hard.
The tech industry lobby would fight against it, the NSA and the FBI too, but I don't see why we the people would not support that.
Most of what Stallman complains about would go away if there were no profit-seeking corporation sitting in the middle. If no one were trying to collect a 20% tax on taxis, you wouldn't need to pay with a credit card and you could have anonymous cash rides. Heck, without the need for a company to have something to take a 20% cut of, you could have actual ride-sharing.
A free, open-source app could be written and verified to not track its users, beyond the need to provide location services at the moment a call for a cab is placed.
So why haven't I ever heard of the free, open-sourced alternative to Uber & Lyft?
And I'm a man; I can imagine many women would be even more skeptical.
I'd love to see if there's been any work on something in this vein regarding any company in the sharing economy. Traction/Marketing would be hard though.
Cell411 has decentralized ride-sharing, with payment via cryptocurrency