Aaron Swartz

Updated: 09/15/2017 by Computer Hope
Aaron Swartz

Name: Aaron Swartz

Born: November 8, 1986, in Chicago, Illinois, USA

Death: January 11, 2013 (Age: 26)

Computer-related contributions

  • American computer programmer, writer, political organizer, and Internet activist.
  • Involved in the development of the web feed format RSS.
  • Equal partner in the social news site Reddit.
  • Founded the software company Infogami.
  • Founded the online group Demand Progress, known for its campaign against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
  • Worked with the activist groups Rootstrikers and Avaaz and was a contributing editor to The Baffler.
  • On January 6, 2011, Swartz was arrested by federal authorities in connection with systematic downloading of academic journal articles from JSTOR.

Significant publications

  • Building Programmable Websites (2012).
  • Guerilla Open Access Manifesto (2008).
  • Markdown definition (2004).
  • MusicBrainz: A Semantic Web Service (2002).
  • The Semantic Web: A Network of Content for the Digital City (2001).

Honors and awards

  • Won the ArsDigita Prize (at age 13).


"Assume nobody else has any idea what they're doing either. A lot of people refuse to try something because they feel they don't know enough about it or they assume other people must have already tried everything they could have thought of. Well, few people really have any idea how to do things right and even fewer are to try new things, so usually if you give your best shot at something you'll do pretty well."

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