Jonathan Rentzsch, the organizer of the independent Mac and iPhone developer conference, has canceled the event due to Mr. Rentzsch’s discontent with both Apple’s developer policies and the lack of reaction to those policies from the broader developer community.
In particular, Mr. Rentzsch took issue to Section 3.3.1 of Apple’s iPhone OS developer agreement, which limit developers to using developer tools that meet strict requirements set by Apple.
In an open letter posted to his site, Mr. Rentzsch said that he was drawn to developing for the Mac, and by extension, in part because of the “maniacal focus” Mac developers had for making a great user experience. Such a focus rang true with his own goals as a developer, but he also wanted to push for better “bottom-up” developer tools that allowed developers to do more.
Which is why he started the C4 Conference. In his open letter, he wrote, “I believed the best way to move software forward was to inform Apple programmers about better ways to build software — to infect the best top-downer minds with fertile discontent. My hope was that developers would care primarily about user experience yet also be passionate about utilizing lingual and tooling advances.”
C4, therefore, was his attempt, “to push on the Apple community from the bottom-up.”
The problem with section 3.3.1, according to Mr. Rentzsch, is that Apple has been slow to innovate when it comes to software engineering. “Apple is crazy-innovative in terms of hardware and software design,” he wrote, “but I can count the total number of software engineering advances they’ve made on one hand.”
By limiting developers to the choice of tools they can use, he believes innovation will be artificially retarded, but even that wasn’t the only factor that lead him to cancelling the conference. “By itself Section 3.3.1 wasn’t enough to cause me to quit C4,” he wrote. “I’ve weathered Apple lying to me and their never-ending series of autocratic App Store shenanigans.”
He continued, “But unlike previous issues such as the senseless iPhone SDK NDA, the majority of the community isn’t riled by 3.3.1. On this issue, Apple apologists have the loudest voice. They offer soothing, distracting yet fundamentally irrelevant counterpoints to Apple’s naked power-grab.”
“With resistance to Section 3.3.1 so scattershot and meek,” he wrote, “it’s become clear that I haven’t made the impact I wanted with C4. It’s also clear my interests and the Apple programming community’s interests are farther apart than I had hoped.”
Mr. Rentzsch’s reaction to Section 3.3.1 is likely the highest profile defection away from iPhone OS development sparked by Section 3.3.1. As he noted in his letter, the vast majority of developers, bloggers, and Apple fans have rallied behind Apple in its effort to control development on its smartphone and tablet platforms, a move that was particularly aimed at killing Flash development that was then ported to iPhone OS.