Panic's Transmit

   24 February 2006, mid-morning

When I was a younger boy I used to love pirating software. It was easy and I felt no guilt about it. Software wanted to be free. (That, or I wanted software to be free.) As much as software companies wanted you to feel like stealing software was like stealing a car, I just wasn’t willing to buy that—or their software. I grew older, and I started writing software, and contrary to what you might think, my views on this matter didn’t change. It was really only after realizing how much I spend on a night out drinking or on a nice dinner that I realized I was just being a jerk and should buy the software I use.

Anyway, that was a long aside which brings me to what I wanted to write about, which is Transmit, the very first piece of software I bought. There are two reasons it was the first:

  1. It is an enjoyable application to use. We’re talking about an FTP application, so that’s a feat in and of itself.
  2. All of Panic’s applications make you feel guilty for not buying them. They are like little orphan children you want to take home and love.

Transmit, which is now at version 3.5, is probably one of the nicest applications available for the Mac. And that’s really all I have to say about that. I payed $30 American for an FTP client. Think about that; It must be pretty damn good. (If you must know, some cool features that are very well implemented in the latest release of the program are: syncing local folders with folders on an FTP site; using droplets for quick drag-and-drop uploads without needing to muck around with the application; connecting to FTP over TLS/SSL, which seems to be lacking in a lot of FTP clients I’ve used; good support for queues and batch uploads and downloads; etc., etc., etc.)

If you have ever used a Panic application, you may well know what their nag screens are like. When I was in high school, my friends and I all started using Audion, mostly because the skins were so slick looking. The problem with Audion was the following: you’d start the application up, and these sometimes witty, sometimes poignant, nag messages would greet you. The general gist of the messages, the underlying theme if you will, was something like, “Please for the love of God buy me. I’m only $20. For chrisakes.” (Actually, I think Audion was less than $20.) I remember telling my friend Rishi, one day in between classes, my intention to buy the program. His response was something to the effect of, “Man, those nag screens do work.” If you enter a serial number into one of their programs which you obtained through less than legitimate means, you will be greeted with a message explaining how Panic is just two guys trying to make great Mac software. They don’t reprimand you, but ask you politely not to pirate their stuff. The net effect of the message is that you feel like you were caught masturbating.

[ed. I found this incomplete post while looking through my site archives. I don’t know why I didn’t post it. I’ve updated it slightly so the information is current, and added some links; I bought Transmit sometime last year. The post is still incomplete, but reading it now, I think it ends on a strange note, which I like. Shaun Inman recently wrote an articles on the Piracy of Mint which are worth reading: Stopping the Flagrant Piracy of Mint. With the amount of free software available today, I think there is very little need to pirate software anymore.]



  1. Transmit was one of the first programs I bought on my iBook (and one of the first overall, since I was on nothing but Linux for a few years prior to that. We won’t discuss my Windows years). I, too, spent $35 for an FTP program.

    I also spent £39 for a text editor (TextMate). It has a similar story, though. You feel bad pirating the application that one guy made in his spare time.

  2. Engagement rings are are like “little orphan children you want to take home and love.”

    I rest my case.

  3. Shima, I think you meant to say, “engagement rings are mined by little orphan children you want to take home and love.” Oh snap. (Don’t hate me. I love you.)

    And Kenneth, Textmate is another program i’m always thinking about buying. I don’t know if I really get the most of it when I use it. I think I just don’t program enough at home now to really put it through its paces. I’ve recently started using it again, so I’ll see how I feel in 25 days.

    I think the fact that a lot of these really cool Mac applications are made by very small teams is part of the reason I feel compelled to buy them. It is nice to support the people who are making the software.

  4. No. I didn’t mean that. But thanks Ram. (I’m not sure if I love you! 8o| )

    You know what, at this rate, I think it’s best if I just buy myself a ring and call it a day! 8o|

  5. ‘Oh snap’ indeed. One might even say ‘double snap’.

    “When I was a younger boy I used to love pirating software”

    dude, i heard you say you’d never pay for software like 6 months ago.

  6. I was younger then. And it must have been more than 6 months ago, because I am pretty sure Iíve had transmit for longer than that. One day i'll write a more serious post about software piracy and my thoughts on it.

  7. I’m a firm believer in thoroughly testing software before purchase. You don’t buy clothing without trying it on and you don’t buy a car without a good test drive. Software should be the same way.

    Textmate is an amazing program for anything involving text. I’m in the process of writing a novel using it (for NaNoWriMo this past year. I hit the 50k target, but haven’t finished yet.) and I use it day-to-day for RoR and other development. There are Markdown and Textile bundles, and you can of course style the application as you wish for what you like to stare at all day. And to further the pitch, you get wonderful attributes like the project drawer and command-line launching.

  8. Remember back when Transmit was Transit? Memories…

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