Thanks for Trumpet Winsock, Peter Tattam.

Do you remember connecting to the Internet in 1994 or 1995?

Those of you do probably remember Trumpet Winsock. That little blue-and-gold icon turned your modem from a BBS-ringing machine into an Internet-connecting machine.

What you probably didn’t know is that the author of Trumpet Winsock — Peter Tattam from Tasmania, Australia — didn’t see much money for his efforts. Millions of copies were distributed by ISPs and on magazine covers, but only a fraction of those copies were ever paid for.

Peter’s little program enabled millions of people to get online for the first time ever, right when the web was in its infancy. It made ISPs possible for the vast majority of users running Windows. In short, Peter is an unsung hero of the web revolution.

Well he missed out on the fame and riches. But you can do your part to reward Peter for his efforts. It’s simple.

Choose how much you want to pay for that copy you got off a CD, off a friend, off your ISP. Some numbers to consider: Trumpet Winsock cost USD $25 back in 1993, or about $38 in today’s dollars.

Go on. Reward a guy who deserves our thanks for helping to open up the internet to the masses.

Update 9 March 2011

  1. As a thankyou to donors, Peter has elected to issue a general amnesty for all individuals who used unlicensed copies of Trumpet Winsock.
  2. As of this afternoon, more than 200 people have donated.
  3. Do you work for or own an internet firm that is not an ISP? Consider encouraging your company to make a corporate donation. These will be written up on the Donors page.

Update 22 April 2011

PayPal became anxious about the definition of “donation” and briefly suspended Peter’s account. To keep them happy the button has been changed to a “pay now” button and your payments will be treated as “post payments” for book-keeping purposes.

Update 20 January 2016

After 5 relatively quiet years, Trumpet Winsock is back on the front of Hacker News. Welcome back to memories of the dawn of the mass internet age.

37 Responses to Thanks for Trumpet Winsock, Peter Tattam.

  1. Brian Nelson says:

    A key tool which enabled my career many years later. I was poor then; not now.

  2. Bill Raike says:

    In the early/mid 1990s I built a company and a career that could never have existed without widespread popular Internet access, and am now comfortably retired here in NZ. Trumpet Winsock was the enabler. My AUD$500 is all too little; I’d donate a lot more if I could.

  3. Wing Wong says:

    I cut my teeth on setting up winsock + slirp connections from my trusty old 386 computer. It made my life and that of my fellow classmates that much better. As others have echo’d the same message: it allowed us all to get online, learn, and become successful people in the IT field. Thank you very much! Chipping in my share of the “thank you”.

  4. Howard Fried says:

    I was working for Citibank in 1994 in New York, and when we first got our internet gateway working, I was the 12th person to get an address! It was Windows 3.11 for Workgroups, Netscape 1.02, and Trumpet Winsock that made it all work. Later we added a linux/apache webserver to the local lan, and dubbed it “Citi-Net”…17 years later it is a thiving intranet. Boy, how time flies when you’re having fun! Thanks Peter!

  5. roy says:

    Thanks Peter Tattam for his contribution to make connecting to the internet possible in the mid 90s! I am spreading the news for you and hope you receive donations you deserve!

  6. Robert Gadsdon says:

    My first home internet connection was in 1993, to ScruzNet (Santa Cruz, CA), using a ‘staff purchased’ HP Vectra VL 25Mhz 486, with a 14.4k modem, running Windows 3.11 and Trumpet Winsock (paid for!). I had used Mosaic at first (at the office..), but by then (IIRC) was using pre-release Netscape (0.99?). Without Winsock, none of this would have been possible..

    Thank you, Peter!

  7. Jose L. Martinez says:

    Golly. I didn’t know this was commercial software.

    I connected all the PCs in an important research insitute back then using this software, first to our LAN (which saved us lots of money, since we could share disk space and printers) and then to the net (which saved us even more money, since several researchers and students could access very capable computers elsewhere with minimal cost to us, as well to collaborate remotely with peers).

    I am contributing as a way to say thank you for those tools that made our life much easier.

  8. dickinse says:

    Now I feel bad.
    Winsock was a break through piece of software.
    I feel just a little better after donating, but not much.

  9. AndyE says:

    I am probably one of the few who paid. I did run Trumpet Winsock without paying for a while, but Trumpet was so damn good to have and such a reliable piece of software, I just had to pay the guy.

    I would like to thank Mr. Tattam again – as I am certain I did when we had some email exchange back in the day. That was one great piece of software. It also helped enable my future in IT. It opened doors for Windows many users. It was rock-solid reliable. Thank you Peter Tattam!

  10. Nigel Hey says:

    Guys, thanks for the software and the memories. Life-changing and omni-present, like a light bulb I took you for granted. But now, in a blackout, I know that you were there and enabled me to read (and not to trip over the cat).
    Also, I didn’t realise the Aussie connection – my god, black boxes and the internet…what will we think of next? Mr Tattam for next year’s honours list?

    Thanks mate. Sorry I can’t donate more.


  11. deborah says:

    Trumpet Winsock was life changing for me. “Discovering” the Internet back-in-the-day ultimately led me to not only to finish my degree, but a fulfilling career and a happy marriage to a fellow computer geek. Thank you for bringing the subject to our attention. I feel guilty not only for (probably) not paying, but for having forgotten TS and its contribution to our lives for all these years.

  12. CodeCooler says:

    After 17 years of making a living on and around the internet, I guess my “try before you buy” period is finally coming to an end. Just gave my pittance to help make up for years of neglect. Thanks for the lift, Peter!

  13. J.R. Raith says:

    Thanks, Peter. Trumpet set me further into an interest in computers (at the age of… 15?) and now I’m a Network Engineer at a physics research institution. I wouldn’t be here if not for Trumpet Winsock.

  14. Malachi says:

    I’m ashamed to admit that I had forgotten about Trumpet until I read the article on /.
    I’m not surprised that very few people paid for the software though It does sadden me to hear it officially.

    The very first tech job I ever had was working for a small dial up ISP and web hosting company in rural California, and better than 90% of my calls consisted of helping customers configure Trumpet to connect to our service… and I know for a fact that many of the scripted install disks (yes 3.5″ disks not CD’s) had a copy of Trumpet and the Slip dialer on it and I suspect these where shareware copies.

    The ISP folded long ago and I would suspect no money was ever sent to Mr. Tattam, and while I have moved on to a good engineer job I dont quite have the deep pockets of a corporate entity they are deep enough to make a donation to at least pay for the 4 copies I have personally used on various old systems I had over the years..

    Thank you Mr. Tattam for writing amazing software that allowed me to explore the blossoming Internet, Thank you for not locking down your software to the point of usability, Thank you for helping me to establish myself in the career I have today with out your software and the opportunity in a roundabout way to support your software I truly feel I would never have diverted down the tech path I did and I would not be where I am today!

    Thank you just sounds cheap in comparison to the contribution you made to the tech world at large but I can not think of any other way to express my deep appreciation for what you have done for the Internet community as a whole.

  15. Dan LoSasso says:


    Thank you very much for the solid piece of software. My copy was supplied by my ISP and I honestly have no idea if it was ever paid for so I’ve donated to say thanks. So much of my life today hinged on events that took place back then, without your work I’d probably be living a very different life; I’d be in a different country, with a different career and different family.

    Thanks again.

  16. Bob says:

    Al Gore invented Trumpet Winsock.

    Why is this website deliberately spreading lies and misinformation?

    • Stefan Liberal says:

      ” Hello, this is 1999 calling, and we’d like our dumb conservative cheap-shot joke back, please?? kthx “

  17. Charlie says:

    I didn’t use trumpet; I was fine with packet drivers. But the Internet was worthwhile because other people were connected (who can you call with the world’s only videophone, Dilbert?) and many of those people got online with Trumpet. Thanks, Mr. Tattam!

  18. Cris says:

    I used it without paying for it many years ago.

    Thanks to trumpet we discover the internet, we discover porn.

    now I’m gonna donate my porn budget of first quarter of the year to Mr. Tattam.

    thank you

  19. Joseph Scott says:

    So many memories of helping Trumpet Winsock users back in the 90s. Happy to donate.

  20. flml says:

    Grew up (and remain) in the rural U.S. The Internet brought in the world. Couldn’t have done it in the early days without TW.

    Thanks, Peter. Wish I could donate more.

  21. Gust Avrakotos says:

    I went online after Windows (95, I gather? I had ICQ by August 1995 for sure) had native PPP support, but I remember going over to a friends’ house and running Trumpet.

    TW probably was the figurative straw to break a camel’s back; in 1994 the Internet competed with proprietary online services (Compuserve et al) and might have not gotten critical mass without being available to home users at that critical spot of time.

    I hope the folk singers of the future honor you in their revolution songs.

  22. Matt says:

    Hi. Thanks for Trumpet Winsock! I still wonder what all those general exceptions and access violations were about…

  23. Christopher G says:

    I’ll be happy to donate. Can we see some proof that this is legit?

  24. Suzanne B says:

    Click on the link (Peter Tattam ) in the second paragraph. Then decide if it is legit.

    Many fond memories of those days hearing my modem dial up on schedule and Eudora mail chiming her happy little sound of new mail.

  25. Patrickz says:

    It is the histories

  26. John G says:

    Just donated $50 to the cause. I used this when I was a young teenager and it helped turn me into the geek I am today. Thanks so much!

  27. Slomp says:

    i work in software licensing. i added a rule to our system where whenever it’s scanned it shows licensable in our reports

  28. Gordon says:

    Trumpet Winsock – Enabling Porn Since 1994.

    Here’s to you, Mr Tattam!

  29. David says:

    I was one of the good guys, I am holding the printout of an email of the successful registration of Version 2.1, sent Feb 7, 1996 from Erica & Libby of registrations at Trumpet Software International (Hobart). I recall it costing me $25 and it did exactly as expected. Good job, folks!

  30. Margaret Sharon Olscamp says:

    As I recall , way back sometime in the 90s Winsock was included as a3.5 disk bundled in with the internet hook-up package sent out by nbtel (later Aliant and Bell Aliant ) here in New Brunswick Canada. I did send a payment to Peter Tattum in Australia. I presume it was for the winsock. Not being especially techy … Well … I’m not sure whether I ever really figured out what it was for.

  31. Greg says:

    I’d contribute, but I never had to use trumpet, having left windows for OS/2. If Windows had been left behind the Internet, perhaps the ecosystem would be better these days.

  32. Paul Ely says:

    I can proudly say that I sent a check for $30 US to Peter in 1994 for Trumpet (came with ISP’s setup for those who knew how to use VT102 comm emulator) to use on a 486VL Micron with DOS 6 and Windows 3.11 and Netscape 0.? . Worked so well I didn’t need another PC until 1998, which was a PII Micron with Windows 98.

    Thank you, Peter, for seeing the need. We all owe you big time for boosting us onto the pony.

  33. Blarg says:

    Actually, I never was a fan of Windows. I used a DOS SLIP packet driver and downloaded a copy of slackware via ftp and never looked back.

  34. Gary Howell says:

    This is a refreshing surprise. I worked with Simon at Trumpet USA in Diamond Bar, CA back in the day. I wonder how many of the persons I was supporting over the phone actually paid for the Trumpet Winsock. Yes, Peter is a pioneer and I thank him for his contribution to technology and the world wide web. I will say that he had excellent people working for him such as Simon and I like to think myself as well. Best wishes Peter. I hope your endeavors are forever successful.

  35. Pter says:

    What a pitty Peter didn’t rather put his effort into free software.

    • John says:

      If everyone else in Peter’s world at the time had put meat and veggies on his table for free Peter might have been able to offer his efforts gratis too. But I get the feeling Pter has never offered tangible support for products where he wasn’t forced to. Yet Peter was generous enough to knowingly run that risk. Thanks Peter!