Aaron Swartz died yesterday. He committed suicide. I’ve been reading about Aaron for years it seems. It turns out he was only 26 years old at the time of his passing. He’s a contemporary of my son. He managed to help write the specification for sharing content across websites (RSS 1.0) at the age of 15 for God’s sake. If you’re reading this somewhere other than my website, you can thank him.
As much as I read about Aaron – I didn’t know him. Cory Doctorow (who did know him) has written a thoughtful eulogy. Lawrence Lessig (who also knew Aaron) has written an admittedly emotional response to his death including events that have transpired over the past several years. The co-founder of the Creative Commons, Lisa Rein was a good friend of Aaron’s. Peter Eckersley of the Electronic Frontier Foundation also reflects on Aaron’s brief life.
Aaron was a very well-connected and accomplished 26-year-old. While not everyone agrees with his principles, Aaron followed his throughout his life. It’s always tough when someone takes their life. It’s tragic when someone as young and influential as Aaron does so. Ironically – Aaron anticipated his own mortality.