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Johan Bové

Gophering along

2 min read

A screenshot of Johan's Gopherhole

I've been spending way too much time on servers in the last couple of days.

The Gopher Web is intriguing and fascinating and I totally understand the attraction of an ad-free, cookie-free, not-for-profit, underground(-ish) alternative to today's crowded and over-commericially exploited (according to many) HTTP Web.

It's not super straightforward to access, even-though there are good dedicated free browsers (for all platforms) available that totally support the Gopher protocol.

But I have the feeling that because the Gopher Web is a little harder to access, it is actually part of the attractiveness. Lots of humans tired of the current state of the WWW, who still want to publish
content and share stuff, are finding an alternative, albeit archaic, in the Gopher web.

Setting up a Gopher server wasn't hard either thanks to open-source software from dedicated hobbyist developers.

Formatting plain-text files has been interesting too. It's amazing how much effort some Gopher Hole Phloggers take to create beautiful ASCII art and line-out their paragraphs!

Discovering Phlogs has been an eye-opener and inspiring. There are many Phloggers who are publishing worthwile stories and interesting articles in plain text files in their Gopher holes or gopher burrows.

And I had some fun first-time experiences too playing a funny text-based adventure game called "Lost Pig" (2007) -  it's an interactive story, with lots of funny dialogue and plenty of character which by itself is also proof that Gopher pages can also be entertaining.

The Floodgap Gopher (Gopher proxy) site is a great place to start.