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WTF is Gemini?

published 20/01/2021 in Web | tags : Web, Gopher, Gemini, Fancy, #100DaysToOffload

Estimated read time: 3 min.


Not the critter, the protocol.

Pre-dating http, in the early 90’s gopher was pretty well my first exposure to the internet. I distinctly remember going to the local University, and sneaking into the computer lab and being shown how to browse for things using the gopher protocol.

This was pretty mind blowing at the time, however by today’s standard, it’s not really something to write home about. But at the time, at home my only computer was hooked up to the television and used a tape deck as storage with no modem or internet.

I remember there being Archie, Veronica (Very Easy Rodent-Oriented Net-wide Index to Computer Archives) and Jughead search engines and all sorts of mostly academic material on there.

Having learned, that computer scientists sometimes get to name the things they were working on with clever acronyms. This may have been the reason I pursued a career in computers :)


Shortly after http was released and the internet landscape changed almost overnight and gopher essentially got left in the dust. It only took a couple years for drown out the academic content that was initially so great about gopher and early http days and replace it with ads, spam, trolls, malware, propaganda etc.


From what I can gather, Gemini (even though it was developed in 2019) seems to occupy a space between Gopher and the modern web.

A fancy gopher if you will.

It seems to me almost like the internet equivalent of hipsters, where nostalgia strikes a chord with the content vs trying to be flashy and attention grabbing. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, but it’s a bit ‘hard’ to get into I guess intentionally is what I’m trying to say. Your average facebook user isn’t likely to be aware of Gemini nor care, and that’s not bad.

Some may argue that the internet signal to noise ratio was much higher back when only technical folks were able to use it. Now that it’s hit the mainstream to levels that wouldn’t even have been fathomable even 25 years ago.

Back then trying to explain the internet to the average person was about as entertaining as talking about your dentist appointments.

Gemini seems to be trying to capture the old school feeling of the internet back when the only sites up were from people actually passionate about their give subjects interested in connecting with others over the subject matter rather than trying to win a popularity contest, get likes / views or upvotes.

It doesn’t seem to want to replace either gopher or http, and that’s fine. That falls right in line with the vintage feel of Gemini.


There seems to be a few clients available for Linux, Mac and Windows, both GUI and terminal applications along with a couple proxy’s for viewing with a regular browser.

Although I’d argue that maybe using a browser to access this content is missing the point???

Much of the feel of the internet of old was in the ceremony, which is maybe lost by just using a browser, at least for me, but maybe I’m just weird.

Try it

If you are old enough to remember Gopher or want to know what it used to be like “back in the day”, try out Gemini it’s a current snapshot to what the internet could have been without corporate interest and gross privacy violations and feels pretty good.