Maybe not the Internet foundations of ARPANET and TCP/IP and Mosaic, the codes and packets and standards on which the whole thing is based. But he was a factor in fashioning some of the Web's upper floors. With his contributions to RSS coding and the Web application framework, Swartz made some of today's more expansive Internet possible.
But what Swartz also helped create was a philosophy of the Internet, one that remains the subject of great controversy almost 20 years into its life: the libertarian idea that information wants to be free.
"Aaron was a genius," said Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist and a senior policy analyst at the ACLU. "He was a technologist who was committed to open access to information, and committed to bringing about the changes he believed in."
"Aaron was an embodiment of the Web, and a contributor to many of the aspects that made it great," said Matt Mullenweg, who founded the blogging platform WordPress, in a statement. "When I was young and getting into technology Aaron was even younger and literally setting the standards for the Web with contributions to RSS 1.0 and Creative Commons. He inspired a generation to share online, to move to (San Francisco), to not be afraid to start things, and to break down barriers."
One more time for some terrorized by the Justice Dept. but still managed to give the world so much.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"