I’ve never written an obituary before in these pages. Happily,
that’s because the people who are driving the new wave of openness are
relatively young, and still very much alive. Sadly, one of the earliest
pioneers, Michael Hart, was somewhat older, and died on Tuesday at the age of just 64.
What makes his death particularly tragic is that his name is probably
only vaguely known, even to people familiar with the areas he devoted
his life to: free etexts and the public domain. In part, that was
because he modest, content with only the barest recognition of his huge
achievements. It was also because he was so far ahead of his times that
there was an unfortunate disconnect between him and the later
generation that built on his trailblazing early work.