inessential by Brent Simmons

How MarsEdit got its name

When I was naming MarsEdit, I wanted a name that was cool, that fit with NetNewsWire (which had an earth plus satellite icon at the time), and that suggested editing-at-a-distance — since MarsEdit didn’t edit local documents but blog posts, which are normally stored on a remote server.

I was thinking about names I thought were awesome, and remembered one of my favorite place names: the Free Mars café in Belltown. It occurred to me that “Mars” was perfect, because Mars is cool, it fits with NetNewsWire’s space theme, and Mars is at a distance.

I couldn’t call the app “Free Mars,” not just because it had been used but because it would have suggested the app was free. People would get confused — so instead I added the “Edit” part at the end to make MarsEdit. (Adding “Edit” at the end was an homage to the awesome BBEdit.)

Free Mars didn’t exist as Free Mars by the time MarsEdit came along, though it lived on, in a location around the corner, as the Cyclops. And it still lives on, and that’s where Seattle Xcoders go to eat and drink and talk twice a month.

I found an image gallery for Free Mars. Very late ’80s, very awesome. I loved that place. (I ate a lot of hummus there, and they served me beer when I was underage, thereby ensuring I would be a regular customer.)

And of course here’s the website for Cyclops.

P.S. I was also considering breaking out NetNewsWire 1.0’s outliner into a separate app called MoonLiner. Icon would have had the moon plus a passenger rocket — something like a 747 mixed with a spaceship. But OmniOutliner was so good that I didn’t bother doing MoonLiner. (Though I loved the name.)