As novelty goes the WWW cannot be beaten, but for many, the metaphor of interlinked pages that create a “spiders web” of information, now only accessible by the most sophisticated search engines, is a bewildering array of challenges. The least of which is that todays’ information society lacks any formal structure. Surfing the rough and diving into uncharted territory only to go down a rabbit hole is all part of the fun, but surely there is a better way? A way out of the disoganised library whose subject catalogue is designed by a cacophony of disparate view-points and not the uniform logic of librarians. Where then is the meta-catalogue, the civilised index of all the information on the Internet?
One solution is a return to the gopher protocol. At least this would be the starting point on any discussion about developing a better method of accessing information. Imagine what gopher could look like if it were updated with the tango icon set? Can Ubuntu bring a new logic to the gopher protocol?
GOPHER is a network protocol that enables multiple servers to create a single, uniform filesystem that transcends system architecure and operating systems (GOPHERSPACE). With GOPHER, information holds the most value. Since presentation is uniform across GOPHERSPACE, the user does not encounter any challenges in ‘learning’ a new site. Because of its simplicity and its emphasis on the importance of informational texts, GOPHER is ideal for those who are visually impared
For those who want to see what gopher is all about, you can install gopher in your terminal, or try Forg a new graphical browser for gopher written in python. Forg will let you browse the world-wide gopherspace and handles various types of media, including HTML and video. While the programme still needs a bit of spit and polish, and lacks a proxy option, its good to see some gopher applications being written.
sudo apt-get install forg
Many people think the http protocol has deprecated gopher, but that just isn’t true. Where do you think GOPHERs live? underground.
When you build your GOPHERSPACE on SDF, you are contributing to an underground network of systems that still believe in the gopher protocol. There is no commercialism, no banner ads, no spam, no pop-up ads. GOPHER gives you what you want: information and files (in any form) without the silliness of HTML and clumsiness of websites. No HTML development is needed to contribute to GOPHERSPACE.. since sites are uniform, all you need to do is upload or create your files
There are also various plugins for Firefox which turn the browser into a gopher client:
And a jump-off point for the gopher underground.