Thursday, February 8th, 2018
On gopher clients
Before I begin with the topic, I'd like to thank you for all the
replies, you sent either via e-mail or as post on your phlogs. I just
wanted to know whether is it worth it to keep alive old dinosaur in
this new mammal world, but it seems that there is enough interest for
dinosaur ride, so there will be one. Bongusta is going to stay and
even get those improvements I mentioned last month - I will do some
gophermap parsing before hash calculation to eliminate false positives
on SDF - and try to roll them out during weekend.
And now on gopher clients. There's quite a buzz through phlogosphere
about a new gopher client VF-1 created by Solderpunk. It seems to
be a great tool and people are really happy about it as far as I can
say from the recent phlog posts. But as I already said, I'm a deeply
weird person, so I'm sticking with lynx.
Let me elaborate:
Several years ago there were about ten active people on gopherspace
and half of them developed their own gopher server. I was never
interested in that kind of thing, because I was satisfied with
Gophernicus from the first moment and when new release of CentOS
prevented me to run it on my virtual server, I switched to Motsognir
which is behind this gopher site to this day. So when everybody talked
about their own servers, I started to write a client. I used Perl +
WxWidgets and even released some alpha version for few friends. Then
my employer sent me to an enhanced C#/.NET course and I wrote a .NET
client as a project there. And then I started thinking: Am I really
trying to create a client for simple plain-text protocol that needs
a huge bloated virtual machine / JITter (.NET) or full-blown scripting
language interpreter (Perl) to run? What's the point of it?
That's where my development stopped and both code folders haven't been
touched since. Gopher indeed is a simple protocol and it was created
simple on purpose - to be accessed with simple tools, requiring as
little computing resources as possible. Today and with today's
computers it probably doesn't matter for anyone else than me, but
anything written in Perl / .NET / etc. couldn't even run on computers
they had on mind in 1992 when they put phrase "slow, smaller desktop
computers" in RFC 1436. Lynx can.
Lynx is not just another web browser with gopher capabilities. It's
a gopher client right from the start and WWW-rendering was added some
time later. I can run some version of lynx on anything starting with
68k-based Amiga or Macintosh with just megabytes of RAM, up to
latest and greatest Intel Core machines. That's why I use it since
I rediscovered gopher in 2010 and even OverbiteFF was always my backup
option, not the first one.
But, of course, that is just description of my humble personal reality
and nobody should follow. Especially not Solderpunk.