To those of us who aspire to the ideals of the Open Web, Aaron Swartz is a hero. His legacy and his part in the fight against SOPA/PIPA still mark how modern technologists should not only build new technologies, but ensure, to the best of their abilities, that they are not used for nefarious purposes.
He had a hand in reddit, the Creative Commons, and so much more. Despite the fact that he had enough programming skill to make himself a fortune, he decided a better pursuit was to use his skills, and the power of the web, to help make the world a better and fairer place.
Aaron Swartz worked hard for what he thought was right, and he constantly sought to learn, and grow—and to help others learn and grow.
His Open Access Manifesto is still widely spread around the web as a call-to-action to those who believe that information should be freer, and that the future of technology, progress, and innovation should tilt more towards cooperation rather than pure competition.
“Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves.
That is too high a price to pay. Forcing academics to pay money to read the work of their colleagues? Providing scientific articles to those at elite universities in the First World, but not to children in the Global South? It’s outrageous and unacceptable.” –Aaron Swartz, Open Access Manifesto
This video is a good look at his life and legacy, and the promise of what could have been—and what still can be.
More details on the documentary on Aaron Swartz can be found here. There are not too many details, but hopefully the whole film gets released soon.