Goodbye Aaron Swartz.
About 13 years ago or so I logged onto IRC (as I had many times before), and found a group of guys in a room that I felt like I fit into. Aaron Swartz was one of those guys. I was fairly active there for a couple years, but as jobs and priorities changed I wasn't able to socialize there as often as I might otherwise have wanted. Aaron, although young, was brilliant. His insight into the inner workings of the mind, and politics specifically was simple and smart. He made quite an impression on me, which is why I (to this day) host one of the mirrors of http://web.resource.org. I felt it was something I had the resources to supply in his quest for freedom of all sorts.
I never met him in person. I hadn't talked to him in years, except for the occasional pleasantry, yet I saw him excel in the thing he was great in - fighting to keep things free that should be free, whether it was technical specifications, democracy, or publicly funded journals. He was quite amazing at these things.
I always felt that his interests and activities should be important to everyone. I always struggled with being active in those things myself because I felt the importance, but life always seemed to get in the way. I did what I could.
Aaron committed suicide today. We might not ever know the reason why, although many of us will suspect. He will certainly be missed long into the future, and will hopefully be remembered as a person that fought for freedom.
I'm really unsure why I'm writing this except that this seemed the most appropriate place (more that 140 characters, and published in RSS especially), and there is some cathartic feeling.
Aaron was a star that shone very brightly. I regret that I didn't know him more. Maybe I could have helped in the end, but who knows.