It turns out they're doing pretty well for themselves. They might not have much brand recognition these days, but they're a much bigger company than I thought.
What? I had no idea.
There's a reference too . The next article  in that series (which was a retrospective about five years later) goes on to say:
> Meanwhile, by this time , Tucows had come to terms with the fact that its acquisition (and ongoing operation) of LWN was not helping it, given the directions its business was taking. So, after some discussion, LWN was unacquired - it was given back to its creators, with Tucows holding on to a small piece just in case.
The acquisition was at the end of the dotcom boom, and we had several options to choose from. We ended up with Tucows for a number of reasons, but right near the top was the fact that they seemed like truly decent and honest people. That decision, I think, is a big part of why LWN still exists today.
The end of the download site is definitely a moment in nostalgia...but in truth I didn't know they were still running it. Tucows has long since moved on; I'm glad they are doing well.
Glad to get to the comments and see further reinforcement of that feeling. It seems you had a great read on them as people. Kudos.
Nowadays 'anti-virus' subsumes all those products into one unified thing.
this reminds me of poking around on my ISP's shell server to find warez drops other people had put there.
... now I can smell magic: the gathering cards for some reason.
Downloading from HTTP has always been messy, specially for big files. The FTP API been always rock solid.
Edit: Apparently the Gopher API is also still available!
and even has websites!
In January 2020, Veronica indexed 395 gopher servers, within which it indexed approximately 4.5 million unique selectors. http://gopher.floodgap.com/gopher/gw?gopher/0/v2/vstat
There was a time where you could replace “www” for “ftp” and in most occasions there would be a file listing!
It was known to some at my university (or maybe just me) pronounced as "Srk Dok Ik Ak Uk".
Same. One of the first places I downloaded software in the mid 1990s
Maybe it is just that it was a different life and therefore it seems like that long ago?
You can just as effectively have HTTP sites that are simple listings of available software. I don't think FTP removal is really relevant here except for nostalgia.
FlashFXP was a popular client that supported this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FlashFXP
The advantage with HTTP wasn't efficiency, it was that resuming interrupted downloads was typically possible with FTP but not HTTP (because ranged GET took a long while to get support in both servers and clients).
They went to shit, but didn't start out that way until they started to try and fund their site through a shit ton of ads.
That was a dark day for the internet. Thank goodness for ad blockers.
Still - at least Tucows left up their mia-culpa (entitled "Tucows Cuts the Crap") https://tucows.com/blog/2016/05/03/tucows-cuts-the-crap/
Here's the direct link: https://archive.org/details/tucows
It also appears that the archive wasn't manually reviewed; some items are just screenshots, and others are unrelated to software at all.
Example (mildly nsfw): https://archive.org/details/tucows_71077_Sung_Hi_Lee_2
> Here's the direct link: https://archive.org/details/tucows
> It also appears that the archive wasn't manually reviewed; some items are just screenshots, and others are unrelated to software at all.
I'm really glad they went through the trouble of even doing that. They didn't have to.
A lot of it's probably only good for nostalgia, before it's totally forgotten without much loss; but as someone who recently spent a bunch of time trying to track down 90s FTP site mirrors chasing a vague memory of a game, I appreciate it.
(On another note, .scr-s are just renamed .exe-s, and it was a highly questionable choice to download and run those in their heyday as well.)
I never let that stop me! I was going to have my realistic fish aquarium screensaver, come hell or high water.
Besides, I could always reformat. I had that Windows XP serial key memorized, after all!
Your example is software.
It is a "screensaver", a program that displays something other than a static image on the screen when the computer is idle (which prevented CRT burn-in).
Those used to be popular back in the day, and long after few people had CRTs around.
"Happy Puppy was launched on Valentine's Day 1995, establishing itself as the first-ever commercial games site. It was an overnight success and has been the leading gaming lifestyle publication on the web ever since."
Related in the sense that it was another site I would download software from in that era. Disappeared in 2006.
She changed the background to one of the puppy mascot peeing on the Communications Decency Act, back when the "Blue Ribbon Campaign" was a thing.
The usage of the word "much" makes it seem like IA crawled most of the archive, "probably".
@ Elliot Noss:
The real classy way to shut down something as historically important as this would be to transfer a 100% (edit: ~100%) dump to the IA.
(Hoping to be disproved.)
That makes it sound bigger than it was, the Top 10 list was a small 1/4 page article that appeared in a bunch of issues.
If it was available around, say, '94 or '95, I am almost positive I had it installed at the time I started messing around with the Compuserve Homepage Builder...
I hope this is just soft wording.
Yeah, I hope that too. Maybe everything except 0.01% really problematic content has been transferred to the IA.
Besides finding new stuff (which was awesome), in those days you had to manually check in those sites to see if there were new versions of your apps. I'd be very surprised if you told me back then that we're all OK with apps calling home to check for updates regularly.
I think we'd have thought of that as a great development. "In the future, you'll automatically get bug fixes and new features in your programs as they're released." What's not to like? After all, you already trust the developer (the programs were not typically open source).
The justified distrust we have now for software vendors shipping "features" that benefit them rather than us came much later.
I'd have been fine with it from a user control/privacy perspectie (this was back in the day when people were fine downloading and running random shareware with zero sandboxing or memory protection whatsoever), but we didn't have the bandwidth or memory to do it.
With a modem you were almost never online. You maybe went online for an hour or two in the evening. If everything started updating as soon as you dialed up your 28.8k modem, you'd never get anything done. And with the tiny RAM sizes and poor multitasking of those old OSes, background update daemons and such were out of the question.
I was really surprised to learn recently that they own Ting (the cell phone provider) and big domain-related businesses like eNom and Hover. Looks like they're doing just fine.
My favorite little bookstore was called Readmore, it's been gone for 20 years, but every time I see the GNC in it's old location, I still get nostalgic. Part of life I guess.
All the WAD hosting went to places like doomworld and one day they announced it was shutting down and I realized I hadn't been on it in 5+ years.
I'm amazed at how many clicks you have to go through to actually see software. No "top 10" list at the start, no "popular", nothing. You have to pick a mirror, which brings you to an almost empty page, click a small "Windows 95" link hidden on the left sidebar, then pick a category, and only then you see the actual software.
Odd how much UX leeway you have when you're about the only thing on the web.
This is the larger tragedy.
I miss download.com
Is there fewer people making desktop software nowadays? It seems there is less software available. It's also very hard to be profitable and monetize software.
Off to look.
Windows Calculator now consumes 12 MB of RAM. Sure, 12 MB is nothing when systems have 8+ GB, but if you think about the fact that it hasn't really changed much since Windows 3.1, you have to wonder why it takes a couple orders of magnitude more memory without having significantly more functionality.
I bet if DOOM were to be written today, even using the same assets, it would be a 2 GB install that consumed 4 GB of RAM while running.
Consider how the most modern computer most of us could even write an emulator for is over 40 years old. Abstraction is the only way we have a hope of meeting hardware where it has progressed.
Just compare the best game anyone could build with z80 assembly vs. Unreal Engine / Unity. It's easy to pick on a 12MB calculator app, but don't let that rob you of being truly humbled by what can be built today.
Yes. Developing native desktop apps is more work (Win32 and Cocoa, who even knows those? you'll have to implement the app in both) and these days you'll have to go through the app signing bureaucracy even if you're not using app stores. And good luck with the monetization, especially if you're not distributing through app store or other and paying a huge share for it.
It was like a Christmas wish book every month!
"You receive weekly download and CPC statistics because you
are a Tucows ARC Subscriber. If you no longer wish to
receive this communication, please login to ARC, enter the
Profile Manager and uncheck the box marked "Weekly
Nostalgia overload. I remember downloading so much stuff from tucows.
[Edit]: I occasionally cover tech stocks in my spare time- this is definitely one I'll write about!
So long and thanks for all the fish :’(
But I did help a few people download browsers, and better FTP clients from tucows.
There was a related site, an index of available software, but I can't remember the name. I remember it had an abbreviation, something like "chase" and hosted mostly shareware stuff. But the details elude me.
clicks on link
second thought: That's not Tucows! Where is the logo with the two cows???
In my experience, they are one of the shadier ones, but maybe they are all bad these days. For example, if a rare domain (E.g. any three-letter .com) is registered with them and about to expire, instead of releasing it as they should, it will be held for auction.
Hover is pretty good. It looks like their fiber business is growing too.
I noticed the billing statement always comes through as from Tuwcows Corp, but I didn't realize Tuwcows was it's own thing that existed apart from just Hover.
According to Wikipedia, its been around since 1993, so a relative dinosaur on the internet. Wild.
Now I have no idea what people are creating unless they post to a few forums I follow, so limited.
One day it's your go-to site for things, the next it's not on your radar.
Maybe search engines, mobile, and app stores all contributed to changing the .
Like many I had plenty of downloads from there, back in the day, on the university connection.
With a Mac, it was sometimes hard to find software. Tucows usually had something for you!
Hard disagree unless you want/need to update it. They’ve moved it to internet archive, so I’m happy, but still a dumb statement.
That’s what I’m suggesting: you run a big screen scrape job, disable the search and any other forms (review entry or comments) and host that. At the end of the day, you have an unchanged archive running on your existing www server.
At least that’s how I’ve kept up old stuff that isn’t popular anymore but still pulls in enough visitors and ads to cover costs.
Unless you freeze the infrastructure too, this is incorrect.
New vulnerabilities are being found in the most popular web servers on a regular basis.