Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What is Gopher?

gopher n. 1. Any of various short tailed, burrowing mammals of the family Geomyidae, of North America. 2. (Amer. colloq.) Native or inhabitant of Minnesota: the Gopher State. 3. (Amer. colloq.) One who runs errands, does odd-jobs, fetches or delivers documents for office staff. 4. (computer tech.) Software following a simple protocol for tunneling through a TCP/IP internet.

If we use that last definition and with one click of your browser (I hope you are using Firefox) you've just taken several years back in Internet time. Close your eyes and grip your terminal. Imagine there's no Websites (it's easy if you try). Imagine that there's a Commodore 64 on your desk, or maybe a 386.

Now open them again.

You're in the year 1991, when University of Minnesota computer scientists, fed up with the limitations of FTP for downloading files and the overhead of having to log into computers for everything, decided to come up with a friendlier method of accessing data over the then largely vacant and much smaller Internet. The result was Gopher, a simple and easy to understand menu system that allowed once hideously complicated systems and services to be strung together for straightforward usage. And Gopher Was Good.

In fact, Gopher was so good that for several years, Gopher sites sprang up all over. You could get weather reports on Gopher, news, mailing lists, even software.

Then Mosaic came out barely a year or so later and plunged the world into darkness and all seemed lost under the choking strands of the World Wide Web. And Gopherspace lay all but forgotten.

But Gopher's still out there. And what's more, you'll find it surprisingly useful, even years after the Web became a household word. Why?

  • It's easy to set up.
  • It's easy to write content for and facilitates organization.
  • It doesn't need much system power to run -- either from the server or from your computer. It can run on systems with little CPU power or memory.
  • It supports many things that the Web does, even if it looks less attractive. You can still view images, search and download programs, and ...
  • ... since Gopher has less data to transfer, it's frequently faster.

Save the Gopher! Explore Gopherspace with Veronica-2 and find out about the hidden world the Gophers once dug. And think how different the world would be if that darn Mosaic had never been written ... :-)

So how do you get to gopher, well click in any of the following urls, and no it's not http:// it's gopher://
Do you search the gopher?
 ___       ___  _         ___ _    
| __|_ ___| \(_)__ _ __| _ ) |___ __ _
| _/ _/ _ \ |) | / _` |_ / _ \ / _ \/ _` |
|_|\__\___/___/|_\__,_/__|___/_\___/\__, |

1 comment:

Samuel Harry said...

Errand Runner For You is now serving Brisbane. we run Prescription, Grocery, Courier service, packaged mail, check when you're away. check our website for more info. Errand Runner For more available services.