How MarsEdit Was Named

October 30th, 2011

For those who don’t know the history, MarsEdit didn’t originate here at Red Sweater. I acquired the software from Newsgator in early 2007 (wow, coming up on 5 years!), and it had been developed originally by Brent Simmons as a feature of NetNewsWire.

Brent told me at one point that it was called MarsEdit, because “Mars is cool, and Mars is far away.” It turns out that was the abbreviated version of the story. I was treated to a longer version in Brent’s talk at Çingleton a few weeks ago, and now he’s shared it with the world via his blog. The name was inspired by a Seattle cafe called “Free Mars”:

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 probably never would have named the app MarsEdit. Who knows what it would have been, had it grown up from birth under my care. But by the time I took over the app, I was such a MarsEdit fan, as a long-time customer myself, that the name just rolled off of my tongue. Of course I would keep it.

I was just reading the eulogy from Steve Jobs’s sister, Mona Simpson, printed in The New York Times. She recalls Steve’s general obsession with “love.” I think many of us who care deeply for Apple and its products are touched by the emotional angle the company applies to its designs. It has been an honor to inherit MarsEdit because it’s also a very emotional product, to its passionate users and for its developers, past and present. Brent’s story helps to underscore that legacy.