The End of the C4 Developer Conference

Since 2006, Jonathan “Wolf” Rentzsch has organised the popular and successful C4 developer conference for independent Mac software developers. In a blog post published yesterday, Rentzsch announced that due to Apple’s infamous section 3.3.1 in the iPhone developer agreement, the C4 conference will not return this year.

In his blog post, Rentzsch explains that as a developer, he wants to write the best possible software. From the top-down, he wants his software to be exceptionally easy to use. From the bottom-up, however, he craves better tools to build software. While he found a lot of people in the Mac community who cared about the top-down aspect of software development, he found that the bottom-up part got neglected.

“C4 was billed as a Mac indie conference, but at its core C4 was a computer science conference,” he explains, “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 was my attempt to push on the Apple community from the bottom-up.”

He takes the lack of outcry over section 3.3.1 as meaning C4 did not have the impact he had hoped for. “With resistance to Section 3.3.1 so scattershot and meek, it’s become clear that I haven’t made the impact I wanted with C4,” he writes, “It’s also clear my interests and the Apple programming community’s interests are farther apart than I had hoped.”

While his frustration is certainly understandable, it’s also a bit weird. C4 has always been a Mac developers’ conference, and as Brent Simmons, C4 regular, notes, there’s no App Store on the Mac and no ridiculous restrictions from Cupertino. “C4 began as a Mac conference, and it could remain a Mac conference,” Simmons notes, “I’ve been to every single one, and I’d love to go again. They’ve been hugely valuable to me.”

This is really sad news for those who attended C4, those who loved to organise it, and those who learned something valuable from it.


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