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Who's still surfing via Gopher?


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Just now, I was trying to link to a recipe in the Cooking thread, where the recipe is hosted on a Gopher server, and learned that sadly the Invision Community Board software we're running doesn't support Gopher links.  So, no recipe link for you!  But then I realized, that could be a topic of its own.  Who's still running Gopher?

I was a latecomer to Gopher, and didn't start surfing on the Gopher net until 2015.  But since then I've occasionally checked out the latest Gopher sites at the Super Dimensional Fortress since then, and have found a few worthy of bookmarking.  The recipe site I was trying to link to (gopher://sdf.org/1/users/sanjuro) is good enough that I wrote an archival program to grab them all in case the Gopher server went down... thankfully it's stayed up since then, and OMG it just added a new Soul Food category!  (And yes, I may have a penchant for writing archival programs...)

I kind of like Gopher though, it's not commercialized like the World Wide Web is.  There's more of an old-school, personal feel to it.  No ads, no flashy graphics, just content through the medium of text, and maybe an attached file in some cases.

Anyone else using Gopher?  Any favorite browsers for it?  I've been using SeaMonkey with the OverbiteFF extension on my main machine (although Firefox with OverbiteWX is probably the easier for trying it out), and Netscape Navigator 4.08 on my old-school machine, which supports it natively.

Desktop: Core i5 2500k "Sandy Bridge" Processor | RX 480 8 GB | 32 GB DDR3 | 850 Evo + Several HDDs | 8.1 Pro

Laptop: MSI Alpha 15 | Ryzen 5800H | Radeon 6600M | 16 GB DDR4 | 512 GB SSD | 10 Home

Laptop history: MSI GL63 (2018) | HP EliteBook 8740w (acq. 2014) | Dell Inspiron 1520 (2007)

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Ah, Gopher.  "Now that's a name I haven't heard in a long time..."

The last time I used Gopher was before the www and browsers existed.  It was a computer lab where a buddy of mine when to school and there were these systems that had this 'gopher' thing that could go and find information for you.  It was a revolutionary idea and was so slow at the time that it was easier to pull the info from a book if you had it handy.  It is interesting to see that protocol alive at all and I'm surprised there's any viewers for it at all.  But I would love to have a portable version of one if it exists just to check it out again after nearly 30 years. :)

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14 hours ago, Samir said:

Ah, Gopher.  "Now that's a name I haven't heard in a long time..."

The last time I used Gopher was before the www and browsers existed.  It was a computer lab where a buddy of mine when to school and there were these systems that had this 'gopher' thing that could go and find information for you.  It was a revolutionary idea and was so slow at the time that it was easier to pull the info from a book if you had it handy.  It is interesting to see that protocol alive at all and I'm surprised there's any viewers for it at all.  But I would love to have a portable version of one if it exists just to check it out again after nearly 30 years. :)

You are in luck!  There are options for viewing Gopher on the go.  I've personally used PocketGopher for J2ME (https://felix.plesoianu.ro/mobile/pocket-gopher/) on my Symbian phone, but it should work on other phones supporting J2ME as well, including some Blackberries and non-smart phones.  There's also an Android project (https://f-droid.org/en/packages/com.gmail.afonsotrepa.pocketgopher/) of the same name that provides an Android Gopher browser.

Or you could use the Gopher proxy at http://gopher.floodgap.com/gopher/gw on any HTTP-supporting Web browser.

Floodgrap (gopher://gopher.floodgap.com/) is a good place to start for discovering sites.  They've got a list of public Gopher servers as well (gopher://gopher.floodgap.com/1/new).  The Super-Dimensional Fortress (gopher://sdf.org/) is another good place to discover contemporary Gopher content.

It's a testament to the progress in modems that Gopher seemed slow then; it seemed blazing fast compared to the web on my Symbian phone in 2018.  But I suppose the number of bits to load a Gopher page is about the same as 30 years ago, whereas the number of bits to load a web page has increased by several orders of magnitude.

Desktop: Core i5 2500k "Sandy Bridge" Processor | RX 480 8 GB | 32 GB DDR3 | 850 Evo + Several HDDs | 8.1 Pro

Laptop: MSI Alpha 15 | Ryzen 5800H | Radeon 6600M | 16 GB DDR4 | 512 GB SSD | 10 Home

Laptop history: MSI GL63 (2018) | HP EliteBook 8740w (acq. 2014) | Dell Inspiron 1520 (2007)

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Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you! 

What a bunch of fun I had with the floodgap link!  The coolest thing I found was that a lot of stuff you can no longer find on the Internet still exists on gopher!  Lots of stuff from the 1990s is there in its raw text file glory just like in the haydays. :)  I searched for old now defunct manufacturers that I remember and found all sorts of stuff that's been lost to time. :D

I think at some point I'm going to have to find one of my dos boot disks that has a live boot of Lynx and network packet drivers--then I can have a full out gopher terminal. 😄

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