Aaron Hillel Swartz (1986-2013)
Aaron is dead.
Wanderers in this crazy world,
we have lost a mentor, a wise elder.
Hackers for right, we are one down,
we have lost one of our own.
Nurtures, careers, listeners, feeders,
we have lost a child.
Let us all weep.
Tim Berners-Lee (Sat, 12 Jan 2013 12:06:05)
Somehow big superstructures like law and government systems tend to break legs to make an example of great and most fragile of people. This boy, this kid, this man was all about bettering and impowering all of our lives. Then he meet big stick of opression, unecesary and futile death of this brilliant young genious is all over hands of some federal inquisitors not even worth naming. But also at least in my humble opinion on hands of industry leaders too, leaders like Google, Amazon or host of different bodies and commities around w3c and wikipedia, firefox and Apple. They all could help, especialy after SOPA/PIPA, they should have had pushed a bit more in his favor.
Hey, poor fellow spent all his money on defence and even MIT refused to push a bit in his favor. All companies out there must come to realise that open and free also comes from people, best of them, people not concerned for acumulating wealth and possesion but generaly concerned individuals freeing things for everyone. In that perspective industry should have felt at that point poor guy needs help, legal, financial, just some kind of protection.
Why? some will ask. Lots of people get pushed around by governments and prosecutors. How many of that same lots people you know were thinking about simple free content syndication or RSS at age 14? I know my mindset was on completely different spot at that age. Maybe you have heard for Creative Commons, bastion of publishing freedom in this crazy world, he complimented to that too. Go, check it up. Then some work for w3c consortium on some layers of what will be known as semantic web in future. Founded company Infogami where he created free and open source web.py web application framework.
Infogami joined with Reddit to make it as cool and great as it is today still. He left pretty soon to be more active in social changes. From there he did watchdog.net, open acces, open library, Guerilla Open Access Manifesto, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Demand Progress. After that he was instrumental in stoping SOPA, then was off to help create Tor2web, also examining some state funded research in funding schemes and analyzing wikipedia contribution ratios. Well you get the picture, extremely open, peacefull individual who was in most productive and inovative phase of his young life and was basicaly bullyed by government under two presidents till sucide. Two years after and nothing changed.
Motivation for trying to contribute in some little way to keep this sad story alive for everyone to see is fact that this great human being and year latter film about Aaron went completely unoticed in my country but also network coverage is not as it shoul be. Two years have passed and we the people are still standing in same spot. Title of this brilliant story and reminder is "The internets own boy" written, directed, and produced by Brian Knappenberger and proudly published under Creative Commons Licence. Great film, good job Mr. Brian and we really are one down.