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
- As a thankyou to donors, Peter has elected to issue a general amnesty for all individuals who used unlicensed copies of Trumpet Winsock.
- As of this afternoon, more than 200 people have donated.
- 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.