[gopher] Feelings I got gophering around
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So, here we are, with a couple more new Gopher
servers running, serving something or close to
nothing to who-knows-who, and a host of old
Gopher servers "gone to the great Gopherhole in
the sky" to join their ancestors.
Today I was wondering why am I spending my
time considering: "how could I put this Gopher-
stuff to use"?
To find out, I searched both Google and
Everywhere I read about Gopher it's about the
times that are gone, the times when the Internet
was both young and thriving with enthusiasm, rich
in contents so varied, interesting and useful to
the point many sought of a way to better organize
and search it and also to make it an engine of the
Though well intentioned, this effort brought
the Internet to the ugly bloat that it is today,
all shimmery with neon lights, flashy videos and
streaming sounds that mostly convey nothing of
interest, or too much to be captured and
assimilated, or something that is potentially
good but too ill-presented to be useful, or
plain disgusting (unless one is interested in
enlarging his sexual organ or finding an easy
way to become a millionaire overnight).
Then one reads of what the Internet was like
ten years ago, what was beeing posted on it and,
at least I do, feels a grip on his heart. And
I was not yet there, I could only see a few
times, with envy, some people at the University
who where able, at the turn of the eighties, to
connect to some BBS and from whom I could have
a few floppies of text files, pictures and
software to take home and read, watch and run
on my superb, state-of-the-art 286 PC running
DOS 3.1. And I was dreaming I would, one day,
have a foothold on the Internet myself (well,
BBSs where not "the Internet", I know, but as
I already mentioned, I was an outsider then),
able to have a telnet access into some Unix
machine, get myself a few manuals to learn
about that world and...
Well, here I am, ten-fifteen years later, with
a foothold of my own into that world, permanently
connected into that world, with a profession into
that world... that is no more. I can only
witness of more fragments of that world beeing
lost, "timing out", beeing disconnected, shut down.
Little or no more of on-line command-line dungeon
games, telnet logins, talk sessions, gopher sites...
I find myself connected to the Internet through an
ISP that filters away inbound TCP port 23 SYNC
All right, enough with the whining.
Here I am with a SS5 with permanent ADSL connection
to the Internet and a Gopher server running, serving
a few ridiculous and useless text files. Next, an
Italian translation of the "Gopher Manifesto" will
show up and something more, but it's software and
ideas that I need the most.
Gopher is the ideal tool to browse usenet archives,
to say one. I wandered if I could find some tool
to create one, if there are there any ready to use.
I searched Veronica-2 for "newsgroup archive
software generator". Found a lot, a lot of Usenet
archives. Maybe installing slrnpull and developping
a script to be run from crontab that generates such
archives would be both easy and efficient. Maybe
slrnpull+logrotate+cron are enough.
If anyone on the mailing list has any experience,
please let me know.
Also, I would very much like having a gopher log file
analizer, something like "analog" for http logs.
Even something producing as archaic an output as this
would be fun:
But I don't think I will be able to get the program that
used to be run on the Well:
The statistics for the WELL's gopherspace are not up to date because we
haven't maintained the stats programs, however the WELL gopher is still
alive...we're still adding material, although emphasis has shifted to the
World Wide Web. So far, though, little or none of the WELL gopher is
duplicated in the WELL's webspace ...
It's good there are a dozen new Gopher servers active since
1999 facing the scores that got switched off just this
year, but I'd like to find gopher sites when doing gopher
searches, even when searching the web.
What I mind about the Gopher community is not that it's
small, it's the feeling one gets at every turn of the
corner: "The Gopher is dead - Wellcome to the Gopherspace".
was not updated since April 2002. I tried to find some
pointers to the software that was used to generate or
manage the archive, a document about how you did that work,
maybe a python module, a Perl/shell/AWK script, but the
following occured while browsing:
raceback (most recent call last): File
"/usr/lib/python2.3/site-packages/pygopherd/initialization.py", line 82,
in handle protohandler.handle() File
"/usr/lib/python2.3/site-packages/pygopherd/protocols/base.py", line 87,
in handle self.writedir(self.entry, handler.getdirlist()) File
122, in writedir self.wfile.write(self.renderobjinfo(direntry)) File
35, in renderobjinfo retval = entry.gettype() + \ypeError: unsupported
operand type(s) for +: 'NoneType' and 'str'
At this point I grew too sad to search further.
I love Gopher, I detest the flash/java-script/PHP web, I'm
fond of telnet, plain text email, I'd like to experiment with
an stunnel gopher-over-SSL, I am thankful to the developpers
of Bucktooth and Pygopherd, I'd like to contribute with some
tools/ documentation of my own, I'd like to work more on my Gopher
site rather than on my web site, but sometimes I wonder if it's
worth the effort. Is the Gopher community today something like
the people who occasionally meet on a Latin Conference or a
Sanskrit poetry contest?
- [gopher] Feelings I got gophering around,
Alessandro Selli <=