09.23.21

Gemini version available ♊︎

Gemini HTTP/HTML/Web Proxies and Self-Hosting Your Own Proxy

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Site News at 4:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 875c84c4e182945b75bfeec9d456d292

Summary: Gemini protocol (gemini://) and the fast-growing Geminispace (expected to exceed 2,000 known capsules by year’s end, in effect quadrupling in a single year!) are possible to access using Web browsers, at least for those who do not have Gemini clients/browsers just yet; today we examine and give an outline of the options

THE past week or so we spent researching proxies for Gemini — a subject that we covered in the past albeit not in an in-depth fashion. Now that we serve close to half a million pages per month over gemini:// it’s worth exploring the possibility of setting up our very own Web proxy, relaying Gemini pages over the Web (as HTML pages). Yesterday I revisited HtmGem, which I first studied in the summer (back when it used Sourcehut for hosting; it has moved to another host) and looked into some of the code and requirements of kineto, gopherproxy (it does Gemini also; that’s a legacy name), and GemProxy, which we use at the moment. GemProxy 2.0.1 was released earlier today. There’s also Xenia, a Gemini proxy for Android, and geminize, a Mozilla Firefox addon that merely redirects gemini:// URLs to a known and reliable proxy. I’ve used that for many months as an HTTP-to-Gemini proxy although Firefox is also configured to open suitable URLs in a proper Gemini client, Lagrange in my case. I have two versions of Lagrange installed and one of us is building Lagrange from source.

“Eventually we’d love to have it all self-hosted (proxies also), but we are using third parties for the time being.”Those are most of the options that currently exist, but few more are out there, quite likely with more on the way… I went through some of them a few months ago but lost track of their names and URLs, so the above list is certainly not complete.

For those not willing or unable to set up their own, there’s this bunch of open proxies [1, 2, 3] including one that is currently down and was also down over a month ago (poor reliability for uptime; they barely even notice when there’s downtime until days later). Well, there used to be several more open proxies, but just like GUS they decided to shut down or change direction, so it’s a bit of a ‘moving target’. The list of existing/available proxies will change over time.

“Gemini isn’t going away. It’s growing.”As I mention in the video above, my main findings are that those proxies use bloated frameworks, some of them hosted on Microsoft’s proprietary software trap (GitHub) but most are not, their quality is not high (bugs) and the documentation even worse. This means that the maintenance overhead can be high in case one considers self-hosting.

Eventually we’d love to have it all self-hosted (proxies also), but we are using third parties for the time being. They’re easy to swap between, e.g. when we have downtimes. We’re not provisioning a whole box or container just for that, at least not yet, but eventually it will make sense, especially as Gemini usage grows.

Gemini isn’t going away. It’s growing. Its functionality too is constantly expanding without having to modify the intentionally-rudimentary specification. This way we avoid replicating the dire mistakes of the World Wide Web (steered by monopolies through the W3C).

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