Exploring unknown spaces: Gopher

The Internet is huge and most of us are used to the HTTP and HTTPS prefixes we see in links on the Web. Did you know that HTTP and HTTPS are not the only protocols available? You may have heard or used FTP for example.

This is the beginning of an adventure through unknown areas of the Intenet... We will start this journey with Gopher. I bet you have never seen a "gopher://..." link for example. Let's change that!

⚠️ This post contains A LOT of links, either on the Web or through Gopher. Enjoy!

From the RFC:

gopher n. 1. Any of various short tailed, burrowing mammals of the family Geomyidae, of North America. 2. (Amer. colloq.) Native or inhabitant of Minnesota: the Gopher State. 3. (Amer. colloq.) One who runs errands, does odd-jobs, fetches or delivers documents for office staff. 4. (computer tech.) software following a simple protocol for burrowing through a TCP/IP internet.

Access

The easiest solution should be Lynx, which should be already installed on your machine.

Or use a proxy:

You can also use the Overbite extension for your favorite browser:

https://gopher.floodgap.com/overbite/

Or your mobile?

Adventures in Gopherspace

For the Web, we often use search engines to find content. There is one for the Gopher space: Veronica, the "Very Easy Rodent-Oriented Net-wide Index to Computer Archives".

As of today, the Veronica search engine from floodgap indexed:

  • 5980649 selectors
  • 359 unique servers

I am quite sure you want to use Gopher to...

How to contribute?

Join an existing host:

Or host it yourself!

On Gopher, information is well structure with the help of a Gophermap:

Here is a nice tutorial to get started with everything related to Gopher:

Outro

The Gopher protocol is the base of a small and lively space on the Internet. I hope you will give it a look, and maybe contribute to it.

Gopher promotes well structured information with Gophermaps and that helps a lot to find our way into Gopher sites. Navigating Gopherspace is quite efficient compared to the Web, and super fast.

Being very simple (people from the Web would say "archaic"), it forces ourselves to think more about the content and the structure instead of bloating our pages with JavaScript and heavy images.

See you soon for the next adventure!

#smallinternet