01.08.22

Gemini version available ♊︎

Gopher and Gemini Can Co-exist, They’re Not the Same

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Protocol, Site News, Standard at 2:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 605608feb13aaba90bda86094d6fcd6c
Gemini and Gopher Compared
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: There are some misconceptions about what Gemini is compared to Gopher; the video above demonstrates the difference by browsing/navigating through some Gopher pages

Little less than a year ago people expressed scepticism and also ridiculed us for embracing Gemini and adding presence in Geminispace. Some people who had relied on hearsay decided to dismissively say that Gemini Protocol is little but a “love letter to Gopher” (as if it’s just another Gopher). Since then adoption of the protocol — in terms of the number of capsules — has more than trebled. Yes, in less than a year!

Castor with geminiSoftware with support for Gemini is increasing in terms of size and in terms of number (e.g. number of Gemini clients and scripts/converters for GemText). There are already several search engines for Geminispace (Totally Legit Gemini Search (TLGS) continues to grow) and Gemini’s founder came back from a long hiatus just over two months ago. In his own words: “Despite my total lack of involvement for several months and the lack of any progress on the spec, Geminispace *itself*, which is our real goal, has neither stagnated nor shrunk. It has only gotten better. Awesome things like smol.pub have turned up. All the time there are more and more people setting up little digital homes in Geminispace, who accept and embrace Gemini as it is right now, and many of them are very happy with the status quo. They are writing truly wonderful content, and I have not come across a single thing written there yet which made me think “right now this is merely good, but it could be excellent if only Gemini supported X, Y or Z”. And all of this is hosted on diverse servers and compatible with diverse clients, including clients which have not been updated in months. All of this says we have gotten the most important things right or close enough to right already, and there is no risk of catastrophically messing anything up if we simply resolve outstanding technical issues with the minimum possible change.”

I'm NOT Gemini (meme)Any further changes to the protocol (GemText in particular) would likely entail a massive overhaul in capsules, e.g. regenerating all pertinent pages, which is time-consuming and risky (cannot test things exhaustively to assure sanity in our case because we have close to 40,000 pages in Gemini).

On a separate note, it may help to think of Gemini as a modernised Gopher rather than profoundly more advanced (read: complicated) variant of Gopher. As Gopher is mostly an historical thing from another era we can leave it aside and focus on Gemini instead. No need for Gopher to go away, it can co-exist with a sort of ‘successor’, made to adopt encryption and broader character sets.

An associate reminds us that “in Gemini, TLS is obligatory. Also it has links and some limited structural elements.”

Contrariwise, “Gopher is just a plain file + a directory structure, without encryption. The main downside to Gemini is the bug where it does not send the size of the file in advance.”

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