When very young persons do something which is expected from adults, we call him a genius! Obviously, such individuals have very sharp brains and can achieve, create much more than adults, faster and earlier than expected during their life span.
The peculiar case of Aaron Swartz needs a bit of discussion. He was involved in forming specifications for RSS (Rich Site Summary) at the age of 14 and contributed in many ways to the computer field.
He also was a “Hacker” in common man’s language but was a genius in the computer fraternity!! One man’s Terrorist is another man’s Martyr! He proposed that information should be free. In principle, it is a good idea but to collect and manage the information you need money! Wikipedia is a similar example, it is free, but Wikipedia always requests for donations as they need money to run the site.
Hacking articles from MIT site and downloading them to make them available for free is something similar. Who was Aaron to decide that he had rights to hack articles (or was it stealing!- people will get upset with this word)? Who gave him the rights? Why his father made a statement to MIT guys “You are destroying my Son!” when MIT involved the police to investigate the hacking? Why did Aaron not meet MIT guys and told them to give him the articles instead of downloading them without their knowledge? This is very similar to Open Source Operating systems. Microsoft, Apple charge for OS because they take full responsibility for the OS and give support. We know how slowly Open Source free Linux is evolving! Why is it wrong to charge for knowledge? Why not give everything free then! Doctors should not cost us fees, Accountants also should not charge us consultation fees. The Folklore and business do not walk hand in hand.
Friends share your thoughts with me as somehow I am not comfortable with Robinhoods of this world!