Indie Fever: The genesis, culture and economy of a community of independent Macintosh developers

Sofa just released an extensive look into the indie Macintosh developer community, with close to 50 hours of interviews and lots of online resources! Here is what they have to say about the project: "‘Indie Fever’ is the first result of a multi-year human geography research program to investigate the social and economical world of so-called ‘Indie’ developers on the Macintosh platform. ‘Indie’ is the self-chosen nickname of software developers that serve worldwide markets from the Internet, hold their artistic values in high esteem and celebrate their ability to make high quality software as small companies. Indies form a major part of the pool of developers of third party software for the iPhone that is currently available in Apple’s App Store. Indies have organized themselves informally but strongly in a virtual community. Although they are scattered over several continents, they continuously interact over the Internet, share rumors and code, and discuss business and private interests as if they were coworkers while –technically– they are competitors. They share a common culture which is intertwined with the history of the platform they develop for and the Cocoa programming environment in particular. The thesis describes the turbulent social history of Cocoa and its early protagonists who became the role models of the Indie community. Furthermore, it analyses how Indies sustain and reproduce their particular culture primarily through online means, something that is argued to be rather difficult in the social-scientific discourse. Indie Fever also pays attention to the relationships between the Indie community and Apple Inc. It argues that they have a symbiotic relationship but that the balance of power between the two is different from what one would expect from just looking at the economic dimensions. Indies substantially contribute to Apple’s software innovations and play an important role in the platform’s competitiveness." If any of that sounds interesting, head over to the Sofa website for the full story, or download the PDF here.

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kc! Bradshaw is the Creative Director for LEGENDmag, a founder of CircleSavvy and works as a freelance graphic designer for Exkclamation. In his spare time, he enjoys the finer textures of life; rides his classic motorcycle; and absolutely loves music. Stalk him on Twitter.