A Big Thanks to Panic, Inc.

I don't think it's unfair to say Panic is one of just a handful of companies that defined the idea of an indie Mac developer. They set out to start a Mac software company at a time when it seemed absolutely insane to do so, and they did it with heart.

Panic Site

It's crazy to picture now, but the Mac was actually well behind the MP3 revolution years ago. Panic came to the rescue with Audion, which was the only practical solution for some time, and the only Mac-centric solution for some time after that. Transmit was the first modern file transfer app for the Mac with support for such basic things as SSH and SFTP. Doing all of this on Mac OS 8/9, by the way, was not easy.

In The True Story of Audion, we found that Apple actually offered to hire the Panic guys, but they turned it down because they love what they do so much. You can't write this stuff.

In addition to simply making good software, the Panic crew have always been involved in the Mac community. Both Steven and Cabel run popular blogs, and Steven runs the CocoaDev wiki site.

Which brings us to another point. When Mac OS X came along, Panic made the transition with grace and style. I have a hard time coming up with many developers that were able to pull that off.

And finally, Katamari shirts. That's right — a Mac developer selling t-shirts depicting a video game about rolling around a giant ball of garbage. This is the soul of quirky.

There's a quote from an essay Cabel wrote years ago that is permanently burned into my brain:

When we go to CompUSA (the world's brightest computer store) and the display Performas are demoing that exciting, Gouraud shaded, 3D-graphics filled multi-media application called "Sorry, a system error has occured", we gently coax the machine into something more exciting like Marathon 2.

Happy tenth.
Design Element
A Big Thanks to Panic, Inc.
Posted Apr 22, 2007 — 3 comments below


Jan — Apr 22, 07 3951

just a handful of companies that defined the idea of an indie Mac developer

(An aside) Can't really agree with this. There are, and have been many "indie" Mac developers, from way before it was coolspeak to call them "indies".

The "handful" that you speak of is actually a long, long list of independent developers. It's just that some have louder voices in the blogosphere than others, or are championed/promoted more than some due to blog politik, fashions, etc.

BUT, that's not to take anything away from panic. They're professional, produce good products and developers can learn a lot from their approach. Happy 10th!

Scott Stevenson — Apr 22, 07 3952 Scotty the Leopard

There are, and have been many "indie" Mac developers, from way before it was coolspeak to call them "indies"
I used the term "indie" sort of half-jokingly because people think it's some sort of buzzword. I just think it's a term of affection.

No question there were individuals writing Mac software long before Panic came around, but the vast majority of those were hobbyist shareware developers. Very few saw it as their full-time job.

Panic had a big part in popularizing the idea of treating apps as if they were commercial software on shelves in stores. Before that, a Mac software company with multiple full-time employees, actual offices and mostly internet-based sales was essentially unheard of. In that sense, they were a model for other developers.

Even if you say this isn't completely unique in 20+ year history of the Mac, they're certainly one of the most prominent in the last decade.

Dave — Jun 01, 07 4188

Just to be anal about it, Transmit didn't get SFTP until the 2.0 release, OS X-only. :)


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