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Farallon DiskPaper

317 words

3K on disk

October 1990

Farallon DiskPaper

In the Fall of 1990 journalists started mentioning a new product from Farallon. That corporation, a commercial spin-off of the Berkeley Macintosh Users Group (BMUG), successfully marketed products such as the PhoneNET LocalTalk cabling system and the MacRecorder/SoundEdit microphone system. Their new idea was a “print to disk” utility — the precursor to the ubiquitous PDF standard which Adobe would usher in 1993 with Acrobat. It was called DiskPaper, and it never shipped.


DiskPaper had a kind of ghostly presence throughout 1991, hitting mail-order software catalogs with a listed price of $88, and even garnered a mention in a March issue of MacUser looking forward to that year’s Eddy Award contenders. Other previews put the list price at $149. Key features that most remarked upon inclued the ability to save documents as self-launching applications — a different model than the free Reader solution that Adobe would eventually settle on — and the notion that files kept their color and fonts intact when distributed.

By the middle of 1993, the market had heated up again with the Acrobat marketing juggernaut. Adobe was promising to do for the screen what PostScript had done for the printed page: provide a universal format for the digital exchange of files authored in different programs and disparate platforms. Competitors knew that they had to get their similar products out immediately, or be swamped by the Adobe juggernaut. No Hands Software [location] had by this time acquired the rights to the underlying “DigitalPaper” technology from Farallon, and released it for the Macintosh as “Common Ground”. (Windows support was promised as well, together with a software viewer for the Newton.)

In place of the Chooser-level PDFWriter, Common Ground offered “CG Maker” as a printer driver for the direct export of files to the new format. Users could choose to password-protect the resulting file, or (synergy alert!) attach a voice annotation to it via MacRecorder.