The gopher manifesto.
November 23, 2000 12:54 AM   Subscribe

The gopher manifesto. This is actually an idea I've been toying with for some time - bringing content back to gopher sites. My love of gopher was rekindled the day I got a WAP-enabled phone. I realized the new wireless web was nothing but menu after menu of hierarchical information. I know for a fact that Blogger can publish text files for gopher sites as well. I'd still love to launch a gopher site for essays and the like, if I could ever find a decent gopher server for windows or linux. (stolen from /.)
posted by mathowie (19 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Be afraid. Be very afraid.

posted by mathowie at 1:45 AM on November 23, 2000 [1 favorite]

Did you ever use TurboGopher VR when it came out in '95? I don't think it ever moved beyond the alpha status, for good reasons.
posted by gluechunk at 1:54 AM on November 23, 2000 [1 favorite]

I don't get it. What can you do with gopher that can't be done on the web (i.e. http) already?
posted by lagado at 3:13 AM on November 23, 2000

i think the appeal is more about what you can't do with gopher than what you can

this really takes me back to when i first got online, thanks for the memories :)
posted by sawks at 5:12 AM on November 23, 2000

lagado, give the old folks a break: they're reminiscing.
posted by leo at 5:48 AM on November 23, 2000


Gopher, not the web, first showed me what the internet could be. That, and ftp-by-email (!).
posted by mikel at 5:59 AM on November 23, 2000

Tonight I'm going to party like it's 1993. Hooray.
posted by holgate at 6:20 AM on November 23, 2000 [1 favorite]

i'm upset that it's not the 'gopher maniphesto.'

posted by peterme at 7:02 AM on November 23, 2000

I remember quite distinctly when I jumped ship from GEnie for the (cough) greener pastures of AOL. At that time, gopher was billed as the super duper gee whiz killer app of the net. AOL's interface was hideously ugly and non-functional. I also recall that one of the very first resources I found was porn...

er, no. It was the Lyrics Server, so I downloaded a bunch of R.E.M. lyrics and was on my merry way. All for just 6 cents a minute.

Gopher deserves a WAPish comeback.
posted by hijinx at 7:16 AM on November 23, 2000

ftp-by-email was very cool. Email addresses in 1992 or so were being tossed around by BBSes in my hometown like candy, but a shell account to actually peruse this crazy Internet thing were rare, difficult and expensive to come by (until I made the connection between "My Dad works at the University" and "The Internet evolved from ARPANet, and is mostly in use at Universities" _that_ was a revelation :-), so I'd ftp-by-email all kinds of crazy stuff (read: porn) and excellet software (read: porn games)
posted by cCranium at 7:26 AM on November 23, 2000

Gah! I remember writing a how-to-get-online column for the Toronto Star in 1994 that spanned the introduction of consumer PPP connections. I literally had to say "Forget everything I told you so far about gophers and FTP."

Could setting up parallel gopher "content" be the next little fad, à la Hello Kitty or whatever, among Webloggers? Look for T-shirts emblazoned "I dig" at South by Southwest (and derisive snickers from passersby).

Oh: The interface difference between gopher and WWW seems to be "inability to zip from one level of a directory past intervening levels." Everything is breadcrumb navigation, unless you go crazy-ass with aliases.
posted by joeclark at 8:35 AM on November 23, 2000

Heh. Even cooler than ftp-by-email (and I first used email not e-mail because the latter looked stoopid when you had a hyphen in front of the word as well) was the SLIP (not PPP) emulator that ran through a regular shell account.

Of course now I'm pissed if I can't have a static-IP always-on connection - how quickly one gets spoiled.
posted by mikel at 8:37 AM on November 23, 2000

I agree with you, I love using lynx because it gets rid of crap I generally don't need to see, and that's with the wired web! Gopher just makes it easier by collapsing all the links into a nice column rather than having to hunt all over for em...more power to ya.
posted by DiplomaticImmunity at 8:59 AM on November 23, 2000

I miss gopher, we still run a server, and I also help admin a freenet server that uses a modified gopher for it's user menus. I miss those days, I got through most of my university research days using WAIS, Veronica, etc... *sigh*
posted by Dean_Paxton at 10:49 AM on November 23, 2000 [1 favorite]

MetaFilter, now in a daily gopher version (ignore the lack of whitespace)
posted by mathowie at 12:52 PM on November 23, 2000

I also (don't) miss WWW by email, which I used a few times before GEnie got its web connection. You'd actually email an URL out, and get the resulting page in text, but as I recall there was a time delay in between.

Now I can get MeFiGo (tm) on my WAP phone! [All I need now is a WAP phone.]
posted by hijinx at 8:10 PM on November 23, 2000

Matt, I don't quite understand your obsession but I like the fact that you are playing with old technology. Reminds me of when I would buy an old Atari ST or Apple and a garage sale just to tinker with it for a day or two.
posted by Brilliantcrank at 12:32 AM on November 24, 2000

I think (ignore the lack of whitespace) should be some sort of slogan for something. I want that on a t-shirt.
posted by rodii at 11:41 AM on November 24, 2000

Pay no attention to that whitespace behind the curtain!
posted by kindall at 1:15 PM on November 27, 2000

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