Aaron Swartz

Probably you heard already about him. Aaron Swartz! An american computer programmer. He was born 1986 in Chicago. Already as a teenager he worked on protocols and standards which are the fundament of the current Internet.


He was a pretty smart guy! He died last week on 11. January 2013 in his Broklyn apartment, where he had hanged himself.

He downloaded 4.8 million scientific documents from the JSTOR (a digital library) and wanted to make them available for everybody. Because he thought that knowledge and information should be available for free for everybody. Not just for the rich guys. For this “crime” he faced up to 35 years in prison and $1 million in fines.

Hacker Manifesto – zum Tode von Aaron Swartz from wmfra on Vimeo.

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2 thoughts on “Aaron Swartz

  1. I don’t really get the whole hero worship of Schwartz. He did something illegal — something he KNEW was illegal — and then got upset when he got caught. Rather than taking it like a man and going to trial (and probably winning, as the evidence seems to suggest), he took the selfish route and killed himself. Suicide is the most selfish and cowardly thing I can possibly imagine.

    Boo hoo. I did something wrong, and now I’m in trouble. Better kill myself!

    Gimme a break. The guy’s no hero.

    Is the law a good law? No. It’s a terrible law and should be repealed or re-written. But the fact remains that it IS the law, and it’s public knowledge, and this guy KNEW that what he was doing was illegal. He has zero excuse for it, and the whole idea of killing himself because he didn’t get away with it is sickening to me.

    Ugh. Sorry. I’m a bit annoyed at how the internet (and Hacker News in general) seems to be idolizing this guy who can’t roll with the punches.

    • Good point Brian. Of course he knew that it was illegal. But he wanted to change something. His argument was that JSTOR and many other Libraries have been build up by Tax Money. So basically everybody who is paying tax, payed for it. And because of that all articles should be available for free for everybody. And I agree with him. Scientific papers from universities should be available for free for everybody. Access to knowledge shouldn’t be limited to a special group of people.
      With his dead he brought this issue to our attention.
      What is your opinion to that?

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