[free-software-melb] Software freedom activist Aaron Swartz dies at 26

Ben Finney ben+freesoftware at benfinney.id.au
Sun Jan 13 23:21:59 EST 2013

Howdy all,

Today I am saddened to learn that the prolific young activist for
software freedom, Aaron Swartz <URL:http://www.aaronsw.com/>, was found
dead on 2013-01-11. His death is reported as a suicide.

Aaron was a co-founder of what became Reddit. He released as free
software the web framework ‘web.py’, and the framework of the Open
Library project.

He was influential in the early years of Wikipedia
Creative Commons <URL:https://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/36298>,
and notably the Demand Progress site <URL:http://demandprogress.org/>.

His friends Cory Doctorow
<URL:http://boingboing.net/2013/01/12/rip-aaron-swartz.html> and
Lawrence Lessig
<URL:http://lessig.tumblr.com/post/40347463044/prosecutor-as-bully> are
vocal about the role in Aaron's suicide of the US government in their
overbearing prosecution of him as a felon on 13 charges, with US$4
million in fines, and over 50 years imprisonment.

The stakes are high in the struggle for software freedom, and sometimes
in the face of unchecked power wielded by the unscrupulous, the young
and the bright burn out early. They pass the flame to us to carry on in
their stead.

 \         “My girlfriend has a queen sized bed; I have a court jester |
  `\   sized bed. It's red and green and has bells on it, and the ends |
_o__)                                         curl up.” —Steven Wright |
Ben Finney

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