Sign up FAST! Login

All 30 of the articles on the Hacker News front page are about @aaronsw.

All 30 of the articles on the Hacker News front page now are about @aaronsw.
2:01 PM Jan 12 2013

Stashed in: Interconnectedness!, The Web, Reddit!, @timberners_lee, Awesome, Heroes!, @semil, Fuel for Life, Hacker News!, Freedom!, Good Guys!, Bullies

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

Last night before bed, I saw something happening on Twitter. When I woke up, I realized someone important had passed away. But, I didn't know who this was. In fact, I hadn't heard of him, but everyone else certainly had. And then this morning, I read a lot about him. One line from Lessig was particularly interesting to me, that Swartz never used any of his powers to make money. He leveraged his tools and the web to set information free. I thought about this while driving around today. There are a set of "web" builders and custodians who deeply believe in and committed to having an "open" web which is always open and accessible. And, there are a set of other people who leverage the web for commercial means. Some of these people do so by closing off pieces of the web. I'm not making a value judgment here at all. But, I found myself thinking about this so wanted to write it down -- here's this kid, someone I've never heard of, who apparently built really important tools that we all use (or could use eventually), and he wasn't motivated by anything else other than using the web to set information free.

Aaron was a great guy. I was honored that he talked to me regularly.


These Hacker News threads made me stop and think:

Official statement from family:

The truth about his "crime":

Prosecutor as bully:

If I should get hit by a truck:

From Quinn Norton:

From Tim Berners-Lee:

From Cory Doctorow:

The biggest Hacker News thread:

Thanks Adam!  

You're very welcome -- Aaron was prolific, and his work inspired many people.

And continues to do so.  This story touches upon so many inter-related themes: the law, depression, volunteerism, activism, technology, personality, access to information, East Coast, West Coast, Life . . ..  His inspiration is cast across an interdisciplinary array of paths to awaken a lot of people.  

It's amazing that he was able to do so much in such a short amount of time.

And yeah, he was a master of the interdisciplinary.

It's where different worlds met that he was his strongest.

He was a bold proponent of the interconnectedness of all things.

Ditto on the "amazing" and "short amount of time" -- he was quite prolific.  I should try and be as awesome for my next 26 years.

That's a good goal. It breaks down to:

1. Write a lot. Blog regularly.

2. Start new organizations. He founded a company and a non profit.

3. Actively lead political causes you care about. It's more about individual issues than party politics.

Great discussion. What I was trying to say -- and maybe didn't do so clearly -- is that the web can be used for things like Aaron wanted (openness, accessibility) but those don't often comport with profits and value extraction, which comes from closing off the web and locking it in. I was amazed that he worked on the web without any desire for profit. I don't meet many people like that.

He had mentors like Tim Berners-Lee (creator of the Web), Larry Lessig (Creative Commons), and Cory Doctorow (EFF) -- all of whom work on the Web without desire for profit.

You're right that it's an extraordinary point of view.

It also makes it all the more tragic that our government was going after him for a victimless crime.

Aaron Swartz was a great guy. I hope his work continues to inspire people.

You May Also Like: