In memory of Aaron Swartz

Author: Andy Hartwell

When I woke up yesterday I had no idea who Aaron Swartz was. I read about his suicide on Saturday and put some articles in my Pocket to read later.

I was disappointed by how little I knew about him. He was a co-author of the RSS spec, which is used by feed readers and podcast software like iTunes to deliver blog posts and podcasts. He also developed Reddit and worked heavily with Creative Commons. He was an amazing over-achiever, and was only 26 when he died.

In the latter part of his life he was involved in leaking and spreading documents that were supposed to be sealed. He stole millions of digital journals from MIT in order to publish them to the world, for free. People have speculated that his suicide may have been out of fear of imprisonment, which seemed a serious threat given that the number of indictments against him had risen to 13, and he could have faced over 30 years behind bars.

I host a bi-weekly YouTube show called The Web in 90 Seconds, and I dedicated this morning’s episode to Aaron Swartz, so if you’d like to know more about him, please take a look.