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Aaron Swartz commits suicide

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Aaron Swartz at a Creative Commons event in 2008.

Computer Activist and early Redditor Aaron Swartz committed suicide on January 11, 2013 in New York City, reports The Tech. He was 26 and the news of his demise was confirmed by both his Uncle Michael Wolf and attorney Elliot R. Peters of Kecker and Van Nest to The Tech.

For those of you unaware about Swartz, he was an American programmer, writer and activist. He was arrested and indicted for allegedly mass-downloading articles from journal provider JSTOR, but was released on $100,000 unsecured bail. Case still continues and Swartz was facing possible life in prison.

Aaron was also known to have helped to create RSS, founded Demand Progress (an activist organisation) and founded and then sold Infogami to Reddit. He was fired from Reddit after it was bought by CondéNet.

Read more about Aaron Swartz on Wikipedia.

Views from the social web:

In the light of demise, John Gruber of Daring Fireball wrote, “Aaron was a friend and a brilliant mind. He was my only beta tester for Markdown back in 2004, and frequently offered keen feedback on my work here at DF. He had an enormous intellect — again, a brilliant mind — but also an enormous capacity for empathy. He was a great person. I’m dumbfounded and heartbroken. Good thoughts and best wishes to his family and those who were truly close to him.”

Chief political correspondent for CNET Declan McCullagh noted on his Google+ page, “I never met Aaron, and don’t know what led him to this point. Perhaps it was unrelated to the criminal charges. But it’s very sad news, and I can’t help thinking that the possibility of life behind bars, because of alleged bulk downloading that many Americans might be surprised even qualifies as a crime, led to Aaron’s decision to commit suicide. His criminal trial was scheduled to begin in two months.”

Gregorylent  on Twitter: Sad to hear of @aaronsw suicide. pursued by a government out of touch with the times. life in a corporatocracy, hard for the highly aware.

About Gaurav Shukla

Gaurav Shukla is the editor of Byte Gyan as well as popular Indian Android blog AndroidOS.in. A journalism post-grad from AJK MCRC, he has worked with organizations like Encyclopaedia Britannica, Info Edge, Free Press Journal, Webdunia & NDTV in the past.

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