Last week Aaron committed suicide in his apartment in Brooklyn. He was only 26 years old. He lived a short life but he did more in those 26 years than what most people do in a lifetime. I don’t want to post about the morality or legality of his actions that caused the suicide, but I just wanted to mention how brilliant Aaron was and how inspiring his intentions were.
Real quick: He co-authored RSS 1.0 specification, co-founded reddit.com, founded openlibrary.org, co-founded jottit.com, founder of demandprogress.com(remember SOPA bill?), and also worked with creativecommons.org among other projects.
Lawrence Lessig said it best: “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.”
He was also a very good writer. I personally love how he analyses the Batman trilogy in his recent The Dark Knight post.
If you really go through his blog is hard to contemplate how someone with such a mind could possible commit suicide, but you never know what was going through his head. It’s very sad, it really is a tragic loss for the tech community and for his family of course.
Below are some relevant links:
How to get a job like mine, by Aaron Swartz
The Truth about Aaron Swartz’s “Crime”, by Alex Stamos
My Email Exchange With Aaron Swartz Shows An Original Thinker, by Ronaldo Lemos