Remembering Gene Kan is something difficult for me to do. Difficult because I never met him, and he surely knew nothing of my existence. But I do remember rushing to download and try out Gnutella, and evangelising it as much as possible in the first week after it appeared. And I remember looking up his home page with Google, and noting that he had something like 'me and my friends don't want to be ripped off' near the top of the page. Then I remember seeing some references to controversy in the Gnutella 'camp' and his name somehow being associated with this.
Perhaps it is symptomatic of the intimacy of the internet, an intimacy that those outside aren't aware of, that I can even contemplate writing this. Perhaps its the sheer scale of the tragedy of this young life pointlessly lost, of the feelings of hopelessness and despair he must have felt when he posted 'Sad example of a human being' and 'Specialising in failure' on his web page shortly before his death. Perhaps it's the fact that I have a son who is almost the same age. Or perhaps it's the fact that the downside of the eye-of-the-storm we've just passed through is the loss of such talented and valuable examples of our species as Gene Kan.
Whatever it is, the man who cut his teeth on Camus' Outsider, who thought he'd grown so tough he'd lost the ability to feel, just shed a tear for you Gene Kan. Wherever you are, we're thinking of you.
If you want to know more about Gene Kan you can try: