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[gopher] Re: Gopher Protocol Issue

[gopher] Re: Gopher Protocol Issue

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To: gopher@xxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [gopher] Re: Gopher Protocol Issue
From: David Allen <s2mdalle@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2000 15:00:15 -0500
Reply-to: gopher@xxxxxxxxxxxx

On Wed, Dec 27, 2000 at 02:05:12PM -0800, Cameron Kaiser wrote:
>, which is great stuff. One would think the problem of testing on
> multiple clients would be ameliorated in gopherspace, though. :-/

Well, we're not quite to the point where we have to worry about screen
resolution, width, height, color depth, whether or not table layout is
broken, and what subset of snazzy "improvements" to the protocol we're
dealing with on a particular client, so I'd say we're at least a
*little* bit ahead of the game.  :)

> > Ah, so of course this brings up the question of whether or not you
> > should follow the protocol, buggy clients be damned, or potentially
> > break software.  
> Yep. However, since it's very unlikely TurboGopher will be maintained and
> I know personally of people using it, I accommodate it. Maybe I'll try to
> get the source for it and try my hand at patching it with UMN's
> blessing.

I don't know who's in charge of that, but they quite apparently GPL'd
gopherd, since that's what I've been hacking on recently.  

In terms of 'popularizing' gopher again, it seems as if any movement
towards gopher again (ala Gopher Manifesto) would need to start at the
browser level, due to the fact that that's what people are addicted to
at the moment.  But that's just my speculation.

> > The clients I've seen though never send G+ requests unless they know
> > they can.  (I.e. when listing the contents of a directory, each dir
> > entry has a "\t+" at the end of it.)  
> When I run gopher directly at, providing it with nothing
> but the host name, the client immediately makes a G+ request by default if
> I don't give it a specific selector. This is client version 2.3.0 (1994).
> I'm not sure whether to call this behaviour broken, but it's definitely
> antisocial, so that's why the kludge is in Bucktooth to dissuade the client
> from trying further G+ requests.

I'd call it broken.  I'd say that when you connect to port 70, you
speak Gopherese unless the other side specifically asks you or tells
you that you can speak Gopher+ese.  I'd say it's broken for a web
client to show up on port 80 of your machine and start saying things

MAIL FROM: antisocial@xxxxxxxxxxxx

That's like cussing in HTTP.  :)  Similarly, IMHO gopher and gopher+
are different (but similar protocols)

> > The gopher+ info is quite old - are the people who wrote that still on
> > the map in terms of gopher activity?  The document I've got is dated
> > July 30, 1993, written by Farhad Anklesaria, Paul Lindner, Mark P.
> > McCahill, Daniel Torrey, David Johnson, Bob Alberti, 
> > Microcomputer and Workstation  Networks Center Computer and
> > Information Systems University of Minnesota
> Mark is definitely still reading the mail sent to the master gopher's
> address; I communicated with him a few weeks ago. I don't know about the
> rest. Maybe we can lure him onto the mailing list. I'm sure John would
> be happy to have an honest-to-goodness authority around also. :-)

I'd love to have some of the original gopher software developers on.
It'd be nigh on impossible for them not to know more about it than I

> > I plead ignorance - how is that type of thing done?
> What type of thing?

You referred to making the gopher+ spec more concrete, more developer
friendly, and less contradictory.  I was just wondering how that was
done.  You can write proposals for how you think it should be, but how
the process comes to consensus and moves forward, actually getting
implemented by independant developers is what I was wondering about.

David Allen
Junk is the ultimate merchandise.
The junk merchant does not sell his product to the consumer. 
He sells the consumer to the product. 
He does not improve and simplify his merchandise. 
He degrades and simplifies the client.
           -- William S. Burroughs 

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