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.”

What Gemini Clients to Use in 2022

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Review, Site News at 10:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum c0cb7c0e43bf111fb7e014c9c69804f2
A Gemini Clients Survey
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: As another year starts it seems like a good time to revisit the options one has in Geminispace, comparing a bunch of decent Gemini clients (like Web browsers but for gemini://)

“My son and I have been experimenting with #gopher and #gemini,” said this person the other day. “As a browser, we are most often using #lagrange,” he added.

There seems to be a lot of consolidation among users around Amfora and Lagrange [1, 2], so few have paid attention to Telescope [1, 2] in the command line (a much lighter alternative to Amfora, and one that does not use Rust) and Moonlander for a GUI. Both projects aren’t being developed anymore, maybe due to a lack of broad userbase, but there are signs of revival in Telescope. Kristall and Bollux are demonstrated in this video from last year, but the above video of ours does not cover them because I never used them. All in all I tried more than half a dozen Gemini clients and it’s hard to recommend just one because it depends on the user and the sorts of needs one has (e.g. RAM available, access to images, tabbing etc.) and the platform one uses. For me, personally, Lagrange is something I can settle and stay with. It seems to have the most features and its developer ‘gets’ software freedom.


Techrights Updates: Metadata in Videos and More

Posted in Site News at 2:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 0bce67674b493eea072ca1e1491c4125
Updates on Gemini, Git, and Videos
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: We take stock of some recent changes and developments, which are partly bad news and partly good news

THE public archive of the Gemini mailing list has been down for a number of weeks already. It’s a darn shame, but there’s a plan to correct the issue some time soon. In the words of the official site:

Welcome back to emptiness; from emptiness

The hard-drive is unwell, perhaps permanently so. All services are gone. Some will come back in time.

If you appreciated one of the services and would like it back, or anything else, contact me:

mail: fox at orbitalfox.eu
tox: 4E7B071824885E8B4B82D6570292B42F997BAB2FD742FB1589F3084FB377B160E01B9C6BF9D0

The official site of Gemini says at the very top:


The mailing list is currently down due to a hardware failure. It will reappear in some form or another as soon as possible. Watch this space.

Undeterred by this setback, the Gemini space (or Geminispace) continues to expand. According to Lupa:

There are 1927 capsules. We successfully connected recently to 1567 of them.

It seems safe to predict 2,000 capsules this month or next month.

The video above is commentary about the state of Gemini and the new metadata added to video files generated with our scripts (changes are visible in Git, which we only make available over gemini://).

Gemini Protocol is quickly gaining popularity among Free software folks; we hope to see 5,000 capsules by the end of this year.


2021 Was a Fantastic Year for Gemini, 2022 Might be the Same

Posted in Site News at 8:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 0ace1ff5c356d9e31fffcd3716e91e16

Summary: A look back at 12 months of Gemini (or gemini://), which brings us about half a million page requests each month

THE transport and presentation of pages in the Internet ought not be monopolised by the World Wide Web, i.e. HTTP/S and HTML (though the latter is nowadays mostly JavaScript frameworks, i.e. the ‘new Flash’ with DRM on top of it).

“Let’s see if this year Gemini can double or triple in terms of adoption. In recent months it enjoyed linear growth…”Gemini started less than 3 years ago and last year was a highly successful year for it. The number of working capsules grew sharply, many new services and capsules became available (without stretching the standard), and nowadays it’s possible to get all sorts of information without even opening a Web browser. I don’t use browsers all that much anymore (RSS readers, terminals, text editors and Gemini clients cover much ground already).

The video above presents some evidence of the growth and various use cases. We showed many use cases in the past. Searching Gemini space isn’t hard, it’s not monopolised (there are several potent options), and there’s plenty of code one can (re)use to convert an existing Web site into a Gemini capsule. Not much ought to be done from scratch and the learning curve/access barrier is low. Let’s see if this year Gemini can double or triple in terms of adoption. In recent months it enjoyed linear growth, so one can predict by extrapolation that there will be 2,000 working capsules before spring and maybe 3,000+ by the end of this year. We’ll try to keep track of the steady growth and point out new capsules of interest (especially when they offer something unique). Interpolation and extrapolation with statistics will help us assess the general ‘health’ of Geminispace. The good news is, this past year we see no corrupting corporate forces, neither in the specifications nor in Gemini space. It’s 100% genuine people; no spam, no advertising, no state/corporate propaganda. Unlike social control media, there’s no censorship and it’s likely that none is need.


2022, Our Sixteenth Year

Posted in Site News at 4:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Happy new year!

Summary: Greetings in advance, as in some parts of the world 2022 is only 6 hours away (Japan) or 3 hours away (New Zealand)


End of 2021: Looking Back and Looking Ahead

Posted in Site News at 9:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum ea91aa0599935dc0b4acb38e36805ecf

Summary: 2021 was probably one of our best years; with over 3,000 blog posts in total (for the first time since 2010) and many bits of leaked material we’ve grown our trove of information, which is moreover replicated fully in gemini:// (fully self-hosted)

THE year is nearly over (2.5 days before the end) and we’ve had an exceptionally productive year. We made a big splash at the start of the year with Raspberry Pi revelations and Intel leaks. Then we started a number of in-depth investigations of the EPO; many people are still reading these in an effort to better understand their home countries. At the middle of this year we had major IRC scandals as Freenode was in a state of flux and we ended up setting up our own IRC network, as we had already wanted or planned in prior years, especially in 2020. IPFS and Gemini adoption increased (1,543 live capsules and persistent linear growth); a lot of people now read Techrights using protocols other than HTTP/S, in formats other than HTML. Our Git repository finally went public and it is discoverable through Geminispace-wide search. More and more projects now choose to present Git over Gemini Protocol — an encouraging trend we expect to carry on.

“IPFS and Gemini adoption increased; a lot of people now read Techrights using protocols other than HTTP/S, in formats other than HTML.”The informal video above explains what’s to come next. We have a number of internal document to put out there and we have a lot of stuff to show about Team Mono (Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part XIII is due Monday).

Means for communicating with us securely have further expanded, from self-hosted IRC to E2EE for voice. We hope it will encourage more people to send tips and documents our way.


Unboxing Geminispace at 1,900 (Updated)

Posted in Site News at 7:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Will we be there by the end of the day? 4 more.

Capsules at 1900 over gemini//

Capsules at 1900

Summary: We’re nearly there now at 1,900; this past year has been a phenomenal one for Gemini Protocol, which tackles many of the issues with the World Wide Web

Update (8:16 PM/GMT): We’re there now.

Geminispace at 1,900


[Meme] The Most Inclusive Greeting We Can Think of

Posted in Site News at 11:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Unless you’re in the southern hemisphere!

Happy turkey day (unless you're vegetarian)

Summary: Techrights will be posting as usual after dinner

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