November 3, 1962 April 14, 2000
For those unfamiliar with Phil, he wrote a great compression utility called PKARC. This program was fully compatible with the System Enhancement Associates' (SEA's) ARC program. (ARC was one of the first compression tools for the DOS environment. What many now refer to as "zipping a file" was, at that time, called "arcing a file.") Phil's PKARC differed significantly only in that it was much faster and free.
Over time, Phil's free PKARC program largely displaced the "not-free" ARC program. In one of the early examples of a larger technology company using the courts to protect a poor product against a smaller company with a superior product, SEA proceeded to sue Phil. If I remember correctly, eventually Phil was prohibited from writing programs that could read or write ARC-formatted files.
Phil did not give up. He created the now ubiquitous ZIP compression format. He placed the format, the compression algorithms, and the ZIP extension into the public domain in 1989. System operators quickly replaced virtually all ARC files with ZIP files as a show of support for Phil.
Phil Katz passed away on April 14, 2000, at the age of 37. Personally, I think the world would be a somewhat different place had Phil not given so freely. May he rest in peace.