2018-12-01 Gopher space is growing

I love the tiny, expanding Gopher network. People hosting small public access shell servers, sometimes with only 128MB RAM, sometimes more, access via a restricted shell, sometimes with git, sometimes with a weird publishing system, all of them with Gopher hosting. 😍

It feels like the old days!

The old days that never were, to be sure. I do remember the old days. Applying for an email account at the department’s IT contact. Going into the cellar where the computer rooms were, and logging into an AIX. Rows and rows of computers, one or two other humans, practically no help, no search engines, everything was hard. We’re building a better past, striving for a brighter future!

And nobody – nobody! – was hosting anything, anywhere, outside of universities and some companies. People hosting stuff? By the people for the people? Not that I remember! Public access shell systems were rare and learning about them wasn’t easy. By the time I got an account I had already gotten used to free services like Geocities web hosting and Flickr image hosting and Google mail hosting…

As a reader, you need a Gopher Client.

As a writer, you need to ask the operators of one of the sites listed above for access. This will require you to use the shell and public key cryptography. Like a hacker! 😎 😂 But no worries: I wrote a short introduction here, for Cosmic Voyage. The instructions for how to generate your private and public keys and how to use the terminal, ssh, or PuTTY will be the same, however.

@dbucklin wrote a different introduction for Gopher authors: How to Gopher.



Interesting, and timely. I installed pygopherd on an Ubuntu 18.04 VM yesterday to play around with it. Still learning the ropes but I’m intrigued with the uncluttered simplicity of Gopher.

– BedRockDocs 2018-12-11 13:26 UTC

Also, the archaic gopher menu files. 🙈

I have become so used to URLs, I’m confused when I realize that there’s no way to tell gopher clients that a particular link is with or without TLS. Which is why I was very confused when I started thinking about encrypted gopher.

– Alex Schroeder 2018-12-11 13:36 UTC

There is a pretty robust discussion of TLS in Gopher starting here: https://lists.debian.org/gopher-project/2018/02/msg00025.html I don’t pretend though to understand much of it. :)

– BedRockDocs 2018-12-14 15:23 UTC

Sure. I was part of that discussion. :)

– Alex Schroeder 2018-12-14 17:39 UTC

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