Yesterday I read of the passing of Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide on Friday at just 26 years old. This is a real shame as Aaron has contributed much in his very short life:
- He was c0-author of version 1.0 of RSS (the RDF variant)
- He was a major contributor to the MusicBrainz project
- His blog was one of the first, and was still going as recently as November last year
- He has previously worked for campaigning organisations Change.org and Avaaz
- He founded Demand Progress which helped to lead the campaign against the SOPA and PIPA bills in America
- He was one of the co-founders of the predecessor to Reddit
- He worked alongside Sir Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the world wide web, who offered this brief eulogy on Twitter
- Some of the Python code he developed for Reddit was released into the public domain as web.py which is used by a number of other web sites
- He worked with Larry Lessig to help to set up Creative Commons
- He collaborated with John Gruber on Markdown, which formatted plain text as HTML
And that’s not a complete list.
Unfortunately Aaron has been in trouble with the law of late and faced criminal charges. He also suffered from depression, which is mentioned in this obituary by BoingBoing’s Cory Doctorow who was one of his friends.
Aaron Swartz was younger than me when he died and yet achieved so much. May he rest in peace, and may his legacy live on.
This post was edited several times before posting as I kept coming across more and more things that Aaron did.