I didn't know Aaron Swartz, the brilliant Internet activist who committed suicide yesterday at age 26, but friends of mine did. I had heard about, and been bothered by, the extreme overreaction of the US government to Swartz's downloading a large number of documents from JSTOR (see the Lessig and Stamos links below for details), but I hadn't really been paying attention to developments since then.
I'm very sorry to hear about his death. I've seen some really moving and compelling eulogies to him today (in my earlier tweet linking to one of them, I wrote “obituary,” but I meant “eulogy”), plus other articles talking about him and his life and the JSTOR incident; after about the third one that made me cry, I decided it was time I posted some links.
- Cory Doctorow: RIP, Aaron Swartz
- Quinn Norton: My Aaron Swartz, whom I loved.
- Lawrence Lessig: Prosecutor as bully
- Alex Stamos, who was going to be an expert witness testifying for Swartz: The Truth about Aaron Swartz’s “Crime”
- Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian: The inspiring heroism of Aaron Swartz
- Official statement from his family and partner
My sympathies to those of you who knew him. He sounds like he was a really remarkable guy, and he made the world a better place.