Michael S. Hart (1947-2011)

in memory

> Michael Stern Hart (1947-2011)
> Obituary for Michael Stern Hart
> Michael Stern Hart was born in Tacoma, Washington on March 8, 1947. He
> died on September 6, 2011 in his home in Urbana, Illinois, at the age
> of 64. His is survived by his mother, Alice, and brother, Bennett.
> Michael was an Eagle Scout (Urbana Troop 6 and Explorer Post 12), and
> served in the Army in Korea during the Vietnam era.
> Hart was best known for his 1971 invention of electronic books, or
> eBooks. He founded Project Gutenberg, which is recognized as one of
> the earliest and longest-lasting online literary projects. He often
> told this story of how he had the idea for eBooks. He had been granted
> access to significant computing power at the University of Illinois at
> Urbana-Champaign. On July 4 1971, after being inspired by a free
> printed copy of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, he decided to
> type the text into a computer, and to transmit it to other users on
> the computer network. From this beginning, the digitization and
> distribution of literature was to be Hart's life's work, spanning over
> 40 years.
> Hart was an ardent technologist and futurist. A lifetime tinkerer, he
> acquired hands-on expertise with the technologies of the day: radio,
> hi-fi stereo, video equipment, and of course computers. He constantly
> looked into the future, to anticipate technological advances. One of
> his favorite speculations was that someday, everyone would be able to
> have their own copy of the Project Gutenberg collection or whatever
> subset desired. This vision came true, thanks to the advent of large
> inexpensive computer disk drives, and to the ubiquity of portable
> mobile devices, such as cell phones.
> Hart also predicted the enhancement of automatic translation, which
> would provide all of the world's literature in over a hundred
> languages. While this goal has not yet been reached, by the time of
> his death Project Gutenberg hosted eBooks in 60 different languages,
> and was frequently highlighted as one of the best Internet-based
> resources.
> http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Michael_S._Hart
> rip
> On 11 Jul 2005 10:52:29 [[Michael S. Hart]] wrote: ==
> <snip>
> As far as I can tell, the entire open source movement, whether you are
> tracing it back through programming to Stallman or though eBooks to me,
> is based on the logic of creating the symmetrical power structure only
> available through putting things on the Internet for all to download.
> </snip>
> out of:
> [Upd-discuss]
> On the 'Creative Commons': A Critique of the Commons without Commonalty
> .
>>>> "Michael Hart" <hart@pglaf.org>
>>>> To:     "Union for the Public Domain" <upd-discuss@lists.essential.org>
>>>> Subject:        [Upd-discuss] Comment on Yahoo eBook Project
>>>> Date:   Mon, 3 Oct 2005 10:58:46 -0700 (PDT)
>>>> re:
>>>> http://chronicle.com/free/2005/10/2005100301t.htm
>>>> http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,615155003,00.html
>>>> http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051003/ap_on_hi_te/online_book_project_1
>>>> http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4304192.stm
>>>> Yet another consortium of multi-billion dollar institutions
>>>> has thrown its hat into the eBook/eLibrary ring today, just
>>>> 9 months before the 35th Anniversary of Project Gutenberg's
>>>> placement on the Internet of the first eLibrary element, on
>>>> July 4th, 1971.
>>>> Last December 14th Google used a multi-million dollar blitz
>>>> of television, radio and print media to announce the Google
>>>> Print revolution: "Today is the day the world changes," but
>>>> so far it has been difficult to get even a handful of books
>>>> from their project, some 10 months later.
>>>> I am wondering of the news media will give the same kind of
>>>> coverage to a second such announcement, which will also put
>>>> up an alliance of an Internet search engine giant with some
>>>> multi-billion dollar libraries.  I will be watching all the
>>>> news programs tonight in eager anticipation, as I was doing
>>>> last December, but I fear that "once burned/twice cautious"
>>>> might take some of the wind out of their sails/sales.
>>>> However, this effort has one huge advantage:  "The Internet
>>>> Archive," run by my friend Brewster Kahle.  Brewster is one
>>>> person who has a proven ability to put an enormous resource
>>>> on the Internet for the whole wide world to use.
>>>> This different is such that I am willing to bet that Yahoo!
>>>> gets off to a better start in the next 10 months than did a
>>>> rather completely false start by Google.
>>>> Of course, the real test will be to see how long it takes a
>>>> project such as this to reach a million eBooks, since there
>>>> are already well over 100,000 eBooks already available free
>>>> for the taking on various Internet sites, perhaps 50,000 of
>>>> them from the various Project Gutenberg sites.
>>>> Here's a hope that a few years from now anyone can have the
>>>> advantage of a million book home library, and in even a few
>>>> years more to ten million books sitting on one inch of your
>>>> own bookshelf next to your computer.
>>>> Michael S. Hart
>>>> Founder
>>>> Project Gutenberg
>>>> http://www.gutenberg.org/
>>>> _______________________________________________
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