By Josh Levy
This weekend, the Internet lost one of its biggest champions.
Aaron Swartz, age 26, died on Friday. The cause was suicide. The loss to his friends, colleagues, fellow activists and the Internet at large is enormous.
Aaron achieved so much in so little time. As a teenager he helped invent RSS, the technology that helped give birth to the Web 2.0, and he was an architect of Creative Commons, the alternative copyright-licensing system. He helped create reddit. He co-founded two progressive advocacy groups. And as countless friends and acquaintances have recalled, he wasn’t just a hacker: He had a boundless curiosity that propelled him to learn and write about history, politics, mental illness, food — just about anything.
Behind Aaron’s technological and political accomplishments lay his fundamental belief in free culture and information; he believed these were matters of social justice. Naturally, he was instrumental to the fight to stop the Web-censorship bills SOPA and PIPA — as an activist, a Web developer and a public intellectual.