Blogging pioneer Dave Winer unexpectedly closed, his free blog-hosting service, on Sunday, leaving thousands of bloggers without access to their blogs.

Some bloggers are screaming that the shutdown is a serial “blog murder.” Other bloggers slammed the people whose blogs have vanished from the Internet, saying that no one should expect continuity from a free service.

“Oh boo hoo … if you forked over the money for hosting like any serious site owner, you wouldn’t now be pissing and moaning about ‘blog murder,'” one comment read. “Putting your site on a CentralizedShinyWidget like or is like moving into a house built of sugar cubes in the tropics, and then crying foul when the monsoon comes.”

“So because it’s free, people should bite their tongues about having their content wiped off the face of the earth with no warning?” responded another blogger, posting anonymously. “He couldn’t even give them 30 minutes’ notice to back stuff up?”

And many bloggers simply posted messages thanking Winer for the memories and politely requested a copy of their blog’s contents.

In an audio message posted late Monday explaining his reasons for the shutdown, Winer cited the financial costs of hosting the sites, technical difficulties in moving the blogs to a new server, stress and personal health issues as the reasons for the sudden shutdown.

Winer, who has offered free hosting to bloggers for the past four years, has promised to make exportable copies of blog contents available to the blogs’ owners at their request. He says it will take at least two weeks to provide copies of the blogs’ contents.

More here.