If you think of where Valve came from; and what they have done for digital distribution - it's really impressive.
Counterstrike was an "indie" before the term even really was anything, and Valve took it and made it a great popular game. The half-life mod community(and others like quake, ect) were really the only "popular/known" indie dev communities that were of substance. Not saying there wasnt indie games before that, but it was a lot more niche. I'm only 25, but that's my generation of gaming.
When Steam first came out, it was TRASH. It actually didn't even work properly for like the first 3-4 years.
This has been more of a debate recently, but I can't fault Gabe/Valve for trying to take over - thats just how business works.
Again, I intern with Universal Music, so I'm a total sellout