posted by Thom Holwerda on Sat 12th Jan 2013 20:25 UTC
"Computer activist Aaron H. Swartz committed suicide in New York City yesterday, Jan. 11, according to his uncle, Michael Wolf, in a comment to The Tech. Swartz was 26." Swartz was one of three co-creators of Reddit, worked on the RSS 1.0 specification at age 14, and so many other things. Swartz faced decades in prison for downloading a collection of JSTOR scientific articles. JSTOR dropped charges, but the US government pursued the case anyway, demanding fifty years in jail. Lawrence Lessig, one of his close friends: "Aaron had literally done nothing in his life 'to make money'. He was fortunate Reddit turned out as it did, but from his work building the RSS standard, to his work architecting Creative Commons, to his work liberating public records, to his work building a free public library, to his work supporting Change Congress/FixCongressFirst/Rootstrikers, and then Demand Progress, Aaron was always and only working for (at least his conception of) the public good. He was brilliant, and funny. A kid genius. A soul, a conscience, the source of a question I have asked myself a million times: What would Aaron think? That person is gone today, driven to the edge by what a decent society would only call bullying. I get wrong. But I also get proportionality. And if you don't get both, you don't deserve to have the power of the United States government behind you." Our sincere condolences to his family and friends. We've just lost one of the good guys.