Gopher – the forgotten internet

So this lazy sunday morn’ I was skimming through a week’s worth of slashdot feed articles. Chasing down links I came across this article which spoke about something encountered and long since forgotten in the semi-drunken insomniac blur of college life: Gopher.

Gopher actually pre-dates the internet, and interface-wise isn’t too far from FTP. It started as a nerd information sharing system between universities, and promptly died under the glare of the early interweb’s awesomeness. Today, it consists of a little over 100 gopher sites. Some of them, I was pleased to discover over the last couple of hours, are real gems.

Like I mentioned, gopher isn’t that big, barely a 100 pages. But it is a completely different protocol, just like FTP is different from HTTP. Firefox and Camino users are in luck since these browsers support Gopher. Everyone else either get an alternative or use the Floodgap Gopher proxy.  I suggest something equally old-school; the text-only browser Lynx.

(note: Unless you have a compatible browser, most subsequent links in this post won’t work).

The google of the Gopher-verse is the Veronica-2. There’s the search itself, and then there’s the eminently more fun  (for Gopher) list of all gopher servers known.

I won’t pretend to have surfed the entire Gopher-verse, I don’t have such an attention span. I did find a few nice pages:

1. The Necron Card Game

2. The Online Book Initiative

3. Venus Ventriloquist (a band)

4. Public Gopherspace

so yeah, go enjoy.