Aaron Swartz died this past January 11th. As Owen Barder noted yesterday, “He did not just campaign: he built the RSS standard which enables blogs and websites to share information, the Web site framework web.py, the architecture for the Open Library, the link sharing platform Reddit, and he helped to design the Creative Commons license. He co-founded the online group Demand Progress — known for its campaign against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)…” The list of accomplishments is long, and the end has been so sudden.
My mind is trying to rationalize this loss… a young, gifted person who pushed the envelope to open up data and knowledge ended his life tragically. I cannot imagine how his family and friends are coping with this terrible reality.
For the rest of us, those who are working on the open agenda, I can only echo the Economist’s recent post and say that we owe a great debt to Mr. Swartz for his creative genius: His contribution to the Creative Commons has allowed us to open up our own data and knowledge under our Open Access policy, which relies on licensing under the “Creative Commons” standard to make this information available to the public at large.
Rest in peace, Aaron Swartz, we cannot forget you.
Photo Credit: ragesoss