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…
@kensanata don’t forget the bbs.
People might not have self hosted internet content, but they surely self hosted some things.
@ajroach42 True. But where as I had a dozen or so BBSs to choose from in Bangkok around 1990, I had zero to choose from when I came back to Switzerland in 1991 and had to wait for university and the Internet in order to get back online in 1994.
@kensanata I remember these days very well too, including this AIX part. And despite all drawbacks and risks and being tempted to glorify this past: I'm glad technology is way more accessible and useful to a wider audience these days. And current technology mostly has been built by people coming from right such a past and envisioning a better future. 😃
@nono haha, nope it was Zürich 😅
@kensanata I still can't bring myself to say "only 128MB RMA" :) Especially in a gopher hosting context. 32MB would be ample, and if anybody sold VPSes that small I'd prove it!
I thought about gopher yesterday, and wanted to ask you if you have a quickstart for newbies? :)
@selea Not quite! But I've been thinking about it. What would you be interested in? The simplest guide for readers would be:
1. install lynx
2. visit gopher URL
For authors, it depends. I guess I could write up how you'd set up a gopher server on a Debian system. Would that be good enough?
If you're just interested in joining an existing collective, I did a write up for @tomasino's Cosmic Voyage, here:
@ckeen I remember seeing it just days ago. A collection of essays by various people...
@ckeen Oh nice thanks for sharing that! I've been curious about gopher, but never actually looked into it yet. I'll add this to my reading list so I can finally get around to it at some point :)
@kensanata I like the idea that big iron hardware becomes affordable if enough people put a little money together. A friend of mine is working on infrastructure in this direction with me (deploying kubernetes for selfhosting collectives), but since it's a spare time thing, everything takes forever right now.
@ckeen Yeah, I added your site when I collected the toots for my blog post: https://alexschroeder.ch/wiki/2018-12-01_Gopher_space_is_growing
@kensanata I really wish your website wasn't blocked on my work network. There have been quite a few times I've clicked a link to read something you've written, to find it won't load.
I think they must block the .ch TLD as a whole for some reason. Very odd. 🤷♂️
I can just save it to my read later app though, and I'll get to it eventually :)
@0x4464 some admin confusing .ch and .cn perhaps, haha.
@kensanata Haha yeah, that's what I was thinking as well. I even thought ".ch isn't for china is it? I thought that was something else." and then looked it up to be sure.
Seems the admin didn't look it up 🤷♂️
@js @ente @ckeen It's a bit unclear. The formal answer is: no. The informal answer is that some people think we should use Tor and that would make a separate TLS unnecessary. Out in the wild, however, there are both sites accessible via Gopher and sites accessible via Gopher via TLS. In this second case it isn't clear how linking between gopher and gophers ought to work. So currently it doesn't.