Here are three relatively recent interactions I have had with independent software developers:
- In November 2020, I suggested a separate display of the optional
external_urlproperty for JSON Feeds in NetNewsWire. I was not sure how to program this, but I thought it was a reasonable idea and, fortunately, Maurice Parker and Brent Simmons agreed. Within a week, it was part of the application. (Because this is open source software, I feel comfortable being precise.)
- A reader emailed me with questions about iPhone photography. That gave me an idea, which I sent off to a developer, who responded positively to the suggestion.
- I encountered a strange bug in a Safari extension. I emailed the developer with specific conditions and a screenshot, and received a reply mere hours later asking for more information. A busy week got in the way of my reply, so the developer emailed again several days later to follow up. I was no longer able to reproduce the bug but it was nice to be reminded.
These are just a few of the numerous pleasant experiences I have had with independent software developers. I cannot say the same is true of big corporate developers — not even close.
When I buy and use software from an independent developer, it feels like I am establishing a relationship with the person or small team that built it; it feels like we both have a stake in the success of the product. But when I use software made by a massive company, I can feel the power imbalance in the pit of my stomach.
Could not agree more.
I truly feel more connected with indie apps and services over big-name corporate brands. Do I still choose the big names over indie? Sure, but I don’t feel good about it.
The indie apps I do use are the ones I will happily pay yearly subscriptions for because I know that the money I am paying goes to the people that put their blood sweat and tears into what they make.