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Three thoughts on the loss of Aaron Swartz from tech luminaries

The tech community was quick to respond strongly to reports of Swartz’s death Saturday morning, with much written in reaction to his loss, including:

  • Tim Berners-Lee The man who created the Web mourned Swartz’s death as that of a fallen comrade in a poem on the W3C listserv. “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,/parents all,/we have lost a child./Let us all weep.”
  • Cory Doctorow The Boing Boing co-founder, who had known Aaron since he was “14 or 15,” wishes it didn’t have to be this way. “Here’s a thing that I do wonder about this morning, and that I hope you’ll think about, too. I don’t know for sure whether Aaron understood that any of us, any of his friends, would have taken a call from him at any hour of the day or night. I don’t know if he understood that wherever he was, there were people who cared about him, who admired him, who would get on a plane or a bus or on a video-call and talk to him.”
  • Lawrence Lessig The Harvard Law professor and internet activist is quick to criticize the prosecution Swartz faced as heartless and at least partly to blame for Swartz’s death. “In that world, the question this government needs to answer is why it was so necessary that Aaron Swartz be labeled a ‘felon.’ For in the 18 months of negotiations, that was what he was not willing to accept, and so that was the reason he was facing a million dollar trial in April — his wealth bled dry, yet unable to appeal openly to us for the financial help he needed to fund his defense, at least without risking the ire of a district court judge.”
January 12, 2013 // 14:02 // 1 year ago
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