Tucows have retired their venerable Tucows Downloads, and transferred the contents to the Internet Archive for posterity.
The shareware downloads bulletin board system (BBS) that would become Tucows Downloads was founded back in 1993 on a library computer in Flint, MI. What started as a place for people in the know to download software became the place to download software on the burgeoning Internet. Far more quickly than anyone could have imagined.
A lot has changed since those early years. Tucows has grown and evolved as a business. It’s been a long time since Tucows has been TUCOWS, which stood for The Ultimate Collection of Winsock Software.
Tucows are one of those companies who were among the pioneers of the early Web, and thankfully lived to not only tell the tale, but prosper too. :)
For the past several years, history, well sentimentality, has been the only reason to keep Tucows Downloads around. We talked about shutting the site down before. Most seriously in 2016 when instead, we decided to go ad-free, keeping the site up as a public service.
Today is different. Tucows Downloads is old. Old sites are a maintenance challenge and therefore a risk. Maintaining the Tucows Downloads site pulls people away from the work that moves our businesses forward.
Tucows Downloads has had an incredible run. Retiring it is the right move but that doesn’t alter the fact that it will always hold a special place in hearts and our story. We’re thankful to the thousands of software developers who used Tucows Downloads to get their software in front of millions of people, driving billions of downloads over more than 25 years.
That last part is what cements Tucow’s place in Web history. Back in the 1990s, building your own website and getting it noticed by the rest of the world was a much bigger and more expensive undertaking. Sites like Tucows did most of the heavy lifting and left developers focus on developing software.