Direct your gopher client to gopher://gopher.metafilter.com February 24, 2016 11:26 AM   Subscribe

You (well, jessamyn) asked for it, and we (well, pb) delivered: after fifteen years of downtime, the MetaFilter gopher server is back.

A few Potentially Asked Questions:

What's a Gopher server?
Twenty bucks same as in— It's a text-based menu-driven document retrieval system dating to the late pre-Septembrian era of the Internet, a kind of alternative approach to distributed document sharing that ended up being the Betamax to WWW's VHS. You can ask it for a text document it has and it'll be like okay, here you go, here's that document.

How do I use it?
Visit the address gopher://gopher.metafilter.com with a gopher client. Of which there are at least a few, though it's not exactly piping hot tech radness so it's a little more effort to find a client than it is to find a web browser. That said, here's a few options, and folks in the thread here may know of more:
- OverbiteFF is a FireFox plugin that will allow native gophering in that browser.
- iGopher is an inexpensive iPhone gopher app
- Lynxlet is an OSX terminal app of the Lynx web browser, with gopher support built in

What's on the gopher server?
Recent posts and comments from all the MetaFilter subsites, automatically updated every 15 minutes, plus the MeFi FAQ.

Is this what was on the original MeFi gopher server?
No. Or yes. Not really sure, actually. It was fifteen years ago and Matt doesn't even work here any more, so.

Why would you do this
Because someone from the community asked us to and it wasn't too much trouble once pb started looking into the implementation details, so we talked it out and—

no but really why would you—
Look, I don't have to explain myself to you, I—

Fine. Will the type of content of the gopher server change over time?
Maybe! If folks have ideas for specific kinds of content from the site that they think would be a good fit, this'd be a great place to brainstorm about it. The current content just seemed like a good simple starting point for a proof-of-concept of the whole deal.

What does maintaining this cost?
Basically nothing, MeFi server has a lot more RAM these days.

Okay but be straight with me here, how many dumb gopher puns did you think about making here
SO MANY
posted by cortex to MetaFilter-Related at 11:26 AM (160 comments total) 115 users marked this as a favorite

It's a text-based menu-driven document retrieval system dating to the late pre-Septembrian era of the Internet, a kind of alternative approach to distributed document sharing that ended up being the Betamax to WWW's VHS.

It’s only a BetaMax-to-VHS comparison until you give us back our blink tags.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:31 AM on February 24 [3 favorites]


Nothing at all could make today better for me.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 11:31 AM on February 24 [76 favorites]


omg this is glorious.
posted by mathowie (retired) at 11:32 AM on February 24 [52 favorites]


Ra ra ra for Ski-U-Mah!
posted by maxsparber at 11:33 AM on February 24 [10 favorites]


It’s only a BetaMax-to-VHS comparison until you give us back our blink tags.

You never lost your blink tags; view your source, you know it to be true. It's just that Big Browser has decided to stop recognizing it by default or at all, depending on the client.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:34 AM on February 24 [13 favorites]


Yesssssss.
posted by waxpancake at 11:34 AM on February 24 [7 favorites]


The ribbon?

Dam you, smock!
posted by clavdivs at 11:37 AM on February 24 [1 favorite]


From the home of gopher, I salute you!
posted by advicepig at 11:37 AM on February 24


Here's a screenshot if you want to see what the front page of Ask MeFi looks like.
posted by mathowie (retired) at 11:38 AM on February 24 [4 favorites]


If you don't want to install a Gopher client, or use a browser that doesn't have one available (I'm looking at you, Chrome), you can use Floodgap's HTTP proxy to browse GopherFilter.
posted by waxpancake at 11:39 AM on February 24 [4 favorites]


OMG OMG OMG where's my floral dress and Docs? I MUST be dressed appropriately for this.
posted by maudlin at 11:40 AM on February 24 [12 favorites]


[this is good]
posted by eamondaly at 11:40 AM on February 24 [4 favorites]


This is fantastic.
posted by signalnine at 11:41 AM on February 24




Meh, Gopher is for the youngsters. Where's the WAIS server?
posted by Nelson at 11:45 AM on February 24 [7 favorites]


I predict this will generate some press across the World Wide Web (and maybe other Internet protocols) to the effect of "If you thought MetaFilter was old school before..."
posted by Rock Steady at 11:45 AM on February 24 [19 favorites]


I plugged in OverbiteFF, and it works perfectly.
posted by maxsparber at 11:46 AM on February 24


This makes perfect sense in a world where Super 8 is making a comeback!
posted by brundlefly at 11:46 AM on February 24 [2 favorites]


Ugh. My heart hurts. I miss this. I miss this world.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 11:46 AM on February 24 [9 favorites]


I could only see the directory pages and not the actual posts/comments pages which wanted to launch a web browser. Perhaps I'm doing it wrong?

Linux PSA: Debian has a gopher client which can be installed with apt-get install gopher, and Ubuntu has the same package too.
posted by A Robot Ninja at 11:47 AM on February 24 [4 favorites]


Coming next: alt.community.metafilter
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 11:48 AM on February 24 [46 favorites]


This makes perfect sense in a world where Super 8 is making a comeback!

Did I Ever Tell You About That Super-8 Film I Made
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:49 AM on February 24 [3 favorites]


Perhaps I'm doing it wrong?

It sounds like your gopher client can't display HTML pages. Since MetaFilter is an archive of HTML that's going make your browsing limited. You might need to try out other clients.
posted by pb (staff) at 11:49 AM on February 24 [1 favorite]


I have absolutely no use for this, I will not expend one second of effort getting it working, I think it's completely silly and I am super glad it is a thing that exists.
posted by bondcliff at 11:51 AM on February 24 [18 favorites]


You might need to try out other clients.

Or there is a new Internet protocol that is pretty good at displaying HTML. Have you considered a World Wide Web page for MetaFilter, pb?
posted by Rock Steady at 11:51 AM on February 24 [12 favorites]


This is awesome.
posted by eckeric at 11:52 AM on February 24


Have you considered a World Wide Web page for MetaFilter, pb?

Fad.
posted by pb (staff) at 11:52 AM on February 24 [62 favorites]


You might need to try out other clients.

Ah, I see, thanks. Installing lynx-cur has filled the gap.
posted by A Robot Ninja at 12:01 PM on February 24


Sweet dangling Jesus.
posted by Jofus at 12:02 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]


Yaaaaay, up with this kind of thing! pb, as ever, you rule.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:07 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]


Awww yisssssssss

GREATNESS

If only there were a login/comment feature (I know, gopher is one-way READ only, not POST) this would become my sole interface to MeFi.

Thank you pb!!
posted by BlackPebble at 12:11 PM on February 24


Wait, what's VHS?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:16 PM on February 24 [3 favorites]


With the budget crunch, can we really afford the 2-3 Mb of RAM needed for this?
posted by charred husk at 12:16 PM on February 24 [3 favorites]


Gophers are back? Do I get to relive my first year of college? Could I somehow incorporate this into a forthcoming midlife crisis?
posted by Area Man at 12:19 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]


How do I access this on my Casio calculator watch?
posted by shakespeherian at 12:25 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]


OH GOD IT'S GLORIOUS now we just need a way to ftp comments into this thread
posted by scrump at 12:29 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]




OK, now, could you disable the http server? It seems redundant.
posted by Wolfdog at 12:31 PM on February 24 [8 favorites]


Now I find myself wishing for a MeFi finger service that outputs public user profile info when you finger someone. I'm getting greedy, sorry.
  $ finger BlackPebble@metafilter.com

  [metafilter.com]
  Login: BlackPebble                                         Name: Don S. Rogers
  Directory: https://www.metafilter.com/activity/20056       Shell: /usr/local/bin/lynx
  Joined Tue Nov 30 2004 12:45 (EST)
  No Mail.
  No Plan.

  $ _
posted by BlackPebble at 12:34 PM on February 24 [31 favorites]


What's the benefit (for jessamyn)? Is this a better way to access MeFi for something, or is it just for the fun of it? Apologies for not knowing, especially if there is some obvious reason - I'm neither bright nor well-educated.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 12:34 PM on February 24


Coming next: alt.community.metafilter

Followed by alt.community.metafilter.moderated
posted by nubs at 12:35 PM on February 24 [27 favorites]


/@\ /@\ /@\ /@\ _____ _  _   _   _  _ _  __ __   _____  _   _ _  /@\ /@\ /@\ /@\
@@@V@@@ @@@V@@@|_   _| || | /_\ | \| | |/ / \ \ / / _ \| | | | | @@@V@@@ @@@V@@@
`@@@@@' `@@@@@'  | | | __ |/ _ \| .` | ' <   \ V / (_) | |_| |_| `@@@@@' `@@@@@'
  @@@     @@@    |_| |_||_/_/ \_\_|\_|_|\_\   |_| \___/ \___/(_)   @@@     @@@ 
   V       V                                                        V       V
posted by Westringia F. at 12:38 PM on February 24 [11 favorites]


It's just for kicks. Nerdstalgia for the old folks.
posted by waxpancake at 12:39 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]


Oh man, this is so cool. It reminds me of my old BBS days. Is it possible for a gopher site to receive input from the user, and to have stateful sessions? Or is that just too much?
posted by grumpybear69 at 12:40 PM on February 24


From the Floodgap proxy listed above:
Due to user abuse of this function, HTML documents may not be viewed directly. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Heh. I know people describe MetaFiter as "text only", but I think we've been old-schooled.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:40 PM on February 24 [3 favorites]


What's the benefit (for jessamyn)?

It harkens back to a simpler time before everyone was awful and Adam Curry wrote me back when I emailed him about the mtv.com gopher server, but really it's just shits and giggles, like playing 8-tracks.... or cassettes... or records... or any physical media really....
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 12:40 PM on February 24 [18 favorites]


Definitely a simpler time. I once got in an email flame war with American McGee over Id's explicit refusal to port Doom to the Amiga. It was fantastic.
posted by grumpybear69 at 12:42 PM on February 24 [5 favorites]


I sort of love and hate the idea of getting a .finger server up and running. Hate mostly because I'd want it to show the count of unread mefimail but I never want anyone to know how many unread mefimails I usually have.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:49 PM on February 24 [10 favorites]


Is it possible for a gopher site to receive input from the user, and to have stateful sessions?

Nope, not possible with gopher. In my copious gopher research for this project (kidding) one of the lightbulb moments for me was reading something along the lines of, "Don't think of gopher as a lesser web. Think of it as a better FTP."
posted by pb (staff) at 12:51 PM on February 24 [21 favorites]


This was...an alternative to the www? I'm really fascinated. Why was ot abandoned?
posted by Omnomnom at 1:00 PM on February 24


This takes me back to the days of the Tandy TRS-80 and monochrome monitors. Sweet!
posted by Roger Pittman at 1:02 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]




Awwwww, this reminds me of the time my dad helped me figure out how to change the text editor in my PINE email back to VI. Thanks, pb!

Next we'll be asking for KERMIT or something.
posted by ldthomps at 1:03 PM on February 24


It's totally dumb that this made my eyes a bit moist, but I'm totally dumb sometimes.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:03 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]


I like how you said "no" and totally did it which means I will never take you seriously when you say no again.

This was...an alternative to the www?

Sort of a precursor. A way to browse directories through a text interface that was nominally better than ftp. It worked well within the BBS interfaces that many people were using and it allowed people to "publish" things in an online way that didn't require command line knowledge, but command line people could totally use it too! When I taught my very first "How to use the internet for research" classes (in Romania, long story) a lot of what I was teaching people was how to find information using Gopher directories.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 1:10 PM on February 24 [10 favorites]


It harkens back to a simpler time

Oh good stuff, and thanks for the response. I thought maybe there was a benefit in terms of access for certain folks, or some technical or "library specific" use, or some such thing beyond my ken - not that your reasons aren't reason enough. Thanks j.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 1:11 PM on February 24


Technically, it may be useful to people who want to read very, very long threads on their phones or other badly underpowered devices, since a gopher client paging through plain text is likely to use far fewer resources than a full-fledged graphical browser.

The thread would only update every fifteen minutes and you'd have to reload it to get the new content and you couldn't comment, so the window of real-time usefulness would be a pretty small one, but there you go.

We actually did it for the shits and giggles, though.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:18 PM on February 24 [15 favorites]


It harkens back to a simpler time

For over a thousand ms, the Gopher Protocols were the way to search and retrieve documents in the Old Web. Before the dark times, before the HTML.
posted by nubs at 1:19 PM on February 24 [6 favorites]


I like how you said "no" and totally did it which means I will never take you seriously when you say no again.

90% of my job is saying no! I was joking behind the scenes that asking me for stuff is like asking a lawyer if we can send cupcakes to everyone. I have to make things specific and that often kills the fun. So I'm glad we could make this specific and have it work. Cupcakes all around!
posted by pb (staff) at 1:20 PM on February 24 [14 favorites]


In 1994 I was MUDDing via modem, Telnet, and the school's Vax on a souped up IBM PC/AT during several aftershocks of the Northridge earthquake. (I was living in a studio apartment in an unreinforced masonry building in Pasadena; I was elsewhere when the quake itself struck.) That machine could handle Gopher just fine, but it was doomed (well, doomed even more) by http.

Like an idiot, I tossed it out when I moved up to a used 286.
posted by notyou at 1:20 PM on February 24


I really need to be able to search the threads with Veronica.
posted by Lame_username at 1:22 PM on February 24 [6 favorites]


Yeah, we actually got the basics up and running pretty fast, just needed a few days to iron out kinks and wait for a good time to roll it out.

The internal back-and-forth after the MetaTalk came in was basically like

pb: Really? Gopher?

cortex: Yeah, I know, it's pretty silly, but then again it might be fun if we could find a way to do it, so as a rainy day project we could keep it in mind and maybe at some point we'll—

pb: I've installed a server, try gophering in.

posted by cortex (staff) at 1:26 PM on February 24 [61 favorites]


This was...an alternative to the www? I'm really fascinated. Why was ot abandoned?

it was text only so it was abandoned in favor of www, which let one have inline images. (oh the irony)
posted by entropicamericana at 1:26 PM on February 24 [6 favorites]


Gopher.MetaFilter: Yeah, I know, it's pretty silly, but then again it might be fun if we could find a way to do it
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:29 PM on February 24 [3 favorites]


Was pb camping at the same time?
posted by Melismata at 1:29 PM on February 24 [5 favorites]


This was...an alternative to the www? I'm really fascinated. Why was ot abandoned?

I just assumed images killed the all-text-web star.
posted by maryr at 1:41 PM on February 24 [6 favorites]


Now set up a BBS! I have a land-line that I literally never use.
posted by um at 1:43 PM on February 24 [3 favorites]


Tradewars 2002 please.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:49 PM on February 24 [4 favorites]


Oh, hey, pb -- I just noticed that the blue metafilter (html) pages are rendering differently from the subsite pages in lynx. Specifically, MetaFilter threads have nice lines separating the comments [screenshot: lynx metafilter thread], while Ask/Metatalk/&c threads have the comments crammed together [screenshot: lynx metatalk thread].

I'm actually used to seeing them all crammed together, so I'm not sure when the view of the blue in lynx changed, but whatever it is -- can you do the same thing for the subsites? It's SO NICE to read with (between?) the lines!

(To be clear, these are the html pages, not gopher. The gopher pages all have lines in lynx.)
posted by Westringia F. at 2:01 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]


Well this brings back memories. Not good or bad memories, just memories.

Is this Veronica enabled?
posted by blue_beetle at 2:02 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]


Because no one did it yet: Metafilter: we did it for the shits and giggles.
posted by Lynsey at 2:02 PM on February 24 [2 favorites]


Also, in Milton-voice:
"Excuse me, I haven't had my cupcake yet, where is the cupcake I was promised, excuse me?"
posted by Lynsey at 2:03 PM on February 24


Specifically, MetaFilter threads have nice lines separating the comments...

I snuck those in specifically for Lynx years ago. I might be able to pull some strings on the other sites.
posted by pb (staff) at 2:12 PM on February 24 [14 favorites]


This is great. My text-mode gopher client automatically fires up the Links text-mode browser when I drill down into a post. THANK YOU
posted by mrbill at 2:19 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]


Gopher cupcakes are not as delicious as they sound, Lynsey.
posted by Wherever you go, there you are at 2:22 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]


notyou: "In 1994 I was MUDDing via modem, Telnet, and the school's Vax on a souped up IBM PC/AT during several aftershocks of the Northridge earthquake. (I was living in a studio apartment in an unreinforced masonry building in Pasadena; I was elsewhere when the quake itself struck.) That machine could handle Gopher just fine, but it was doomed (well, doomed even more) by http."

I just sat straight up in my chair at work wondering what the odds are that I was on the same MUD, via modem, telnet, the school's Vax and an IBM PC/AT, at the same time. Only from Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Because you basically described my life at the time.
posted by scrump at 2:50 PM on February 24 [6 favorites]


pb: I was joking behind the scenes that asking me for stuff is like asking a lawyer if we can send cupcakes to everyone.

Don't forget the whiskey.
posted by chonus at 2:57 PM on February 24


Tradewars 2002 please.

I feel like this was a thing at some point. Like, a Metafilter thing. I remember cortex talking about his trade runs.
posted by curious nu at 2:58 PM on February 24


 ________________________________________ 
( Nothing at all could make today better )
( for me.                                )
 ---------------------------------------- 
  o
     o
                  _ _
       | \__/|  .~    ~.
       /oo `./      .'
      {o__,   \    {
        / .  . )    \
        `-` '-' \    }
       .(   _(   )_.'
      '---.~_ _ _|
                                                     
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:02 PM on February 24 [11 favorites]


I just want to say that I definitely want a MetaFilter fingerd.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:04 PM on February 24 [4 favorites]


Coming next: alt.community.metafilter

Followed by alt.community.metafilter.moderated


Followed within minutes by alt.community.metafilter.mods.die.die.die
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:04 PM on February 24 [19 favorites]


why "it's moist but thanks"? (i don't get the reference)
posted by andrewcooke at 3:06 PM on February 24


I just want to say that I definitely want a MetaFilter fingerd.

Twenty dollars, same as in town.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:13 PM on February 24 [7 favorites]


I don't expect pb to install a mud server but lambda remains online. Perhaps build out a MiFi dungeon under the living room?

:cough
:nudge nudge
posted by sammyo at 3:18 PM on February 24


"Definitely a simpler time. I once got in an email flame war with American McGee over Id's explicit refusal to port Doom to the Amiga. It was fantastic."

I don't know why you'd get into a flamewar with McGee because he was a super nice guy. Was this when he was still just iD's customer support person? He was popular in the community and people were pleased when he moved into the engineering side at iD and then became a designer. I liked him.

Speaking of nostalgia-inducing DOOM names -- how about Hank Leukart? Here's what happened to him. I subscribed to his FAQ starting about six months before the game was released -- right there at the very beginning of internet gaming fan culture. That was like how the whole world would be 23 years later.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:18 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]


How many ancient Sumerian gods did you have to invoke to get this working?
posted by Panjandrum at 3:18 PM on February 24


> > In 1994 I was MUDDing via modem, Telnet, and the school's Vax on a souped up IBM PC/AT during several aftershocks of the Northridge earthquake. ... in Pasadena

> I just sat straight up in my chair at work wondering what the odds are that I was on the same MUD, via modem, telnet, the school's Vax and an IBM PC/AT, at the same time. Only from Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Stony Brook, NY! I would have been connected to LambdaMOO, which you can still join (albeit no longer at lambda.parc.xerox.com) via telnet lambda.moo.mud.org 8888, and where I still(!) have an unreaped character....

Ah, memories. (Like having to prepend MX% to addresses to send emails on that stupid VAX.)

Y'all know that telnet rainmaker.wunderground.com works too, yeah? I still use that interface to get the weather. Old, lean habits die hard.
posted by Westringia F. at 3:21 PM on February 24 [12 favorites]


You can also install Lynx with Homebrew on OS X.

This is neat! I already spend 2/3 of my day on the command line; why not the other 1/3 as well?
posted by bluefly at 3:24 PM on February 24 [4 favorites]


In 1994 I was MUDDing via modem, Telnet, and the school's Vax on a souped up IBM PC/AT during several aftershocks of the Northridge earthquake.

Hmmmm now there's an idea.

You are in a gray, slightly depressing room. To the west you see a green glow.
Other directions are blocked by thickets. A trapdoor leads down, with a sign that says, "older posts".
There are ten posts here.
pb is here, making some cupcakes.

> x post
The top post is by cortex, and is titled "Direct your gopher client to gopher://gopher.metafilter.com". It has 82 comments. [you can read posts with READ.]

> i
You are carrying 5219 unread messages, a hammer, and a PICO-8 manual.

> punch posts
You satisfyingly thwack the posts with your fists. One develops a crack, and a troll emerges. The troll claws you for 10 points of damage!

> wield hammer
You are now wielding the hammer.
The troll throws a small tantrum, but doesn't do any damage
pb's eyes start glowing.

> hit troll
You hit the troll with the hammer for 422 points of damage! The troll shudders.
pb glares at the troll with his glowing eyes. The troll is enveloped in a translucent red fog. The troll vanishes forever.

posted by advil at 3:25 PM on February 24 [37 favorites]


This may do the impossible and actually make me nostalgic for how I did research back in grad school -- gophering and FTPing about looking for research articles and what not.
posted by gingerbeer at 3:29 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]


OK. Now that I've got Lynx installed, I wanted to go and see what the http version of Metafilter looked like on there. It's not as nice looking as the gopher pages, but I was able to log in and make this comment! My brain is totally blown. (I even accidentally hit the back arrow before posting, and when I came back to this page, my comment was still in the box!)
posted by bluefly at 3:38 PM on February 24 [2 favorites]


On my work laptop Fanfare (and only fanfare) is blocked by web filtering software, so this is actually legitimately useful to me. How weird is that? The best part is gopher and lynx are both running in a SSH session to my Raspberry Pi. If I were smarter, I suppose I'd figure out how to bypass the blocker via my Pi, but this is undoubtedly more fun.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 3:43 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]


I still have a lynx browser as part of an ancient Free-Net account (that I still telnet into and read through the PINE derivative Alpine) so I fired this up right away. So much of it looks right--not that I was on MeFi when I was using gopher--but part of it looks so, so wrong. Back in the day, my laptop was monochrome, and now I'm seeing nothing but colours. I think I've been blinded by the spectrum.
posted by sardonyx at 4:04 PM on February 24


lynx -nocolor
posted by Wolfdog at 4:05 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]


Works in Gopher VR!


...after making sure to append :70 for the port number.
posted by destructive cactus at 4:30 PM on February 24 [16 favorites]


Works in Gopher VR!

AND PB WEPT, FOR THERE WERE NO MORE WORLDS TO CONQUER.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:01 PM on February 24 [17 favorites]


I've installed a server, try gophering in.

If you decide to go ahead and try this chat-up line yourself, be prepared for the consequences.
posted by Wolfdog at 5:19 PM on February 24 [2 favorites]


I had an awful morning. I got soaked to the bone in near-freezing rain reattaching some latticework to my house that had come loose overnight, before the howling wind made it worse. My cordless drill died after driving in only two screws. Fuck it. Good enough for now. The drive was terrible, with the wind seemingly trying to blow my car off the expressway. I had to park on the back forty of the parking lot since I was late. I got soaked to the bone again since my umbrella was missing from my car.

As I walked into the office, one of my coworkers said, "You look like you're having a terrible morning. Here you go!" and unexpectedly handed me a paper plate with a hot liege waffle on it.

That was the best thing that happened to me all day. Metafilter via gopher is the second.
posted by double block and bleed at 5:58 PM on February 24 [4 favorites]


 ________________________________________ 
( Nothing at all could make today better )
( for me except adding the blink tag yay )
 ---------------------------------------- 
  o
     o
                  _ _
       | \__/|  .~    ~.
       /oo `./      .'
      {o__,   \    {
        / .  . )    \
        `-` '-' \    }
       .(   _(   )_.'
      '---.~_ _ _|


ftfy. That made it better for me, anyway.

Anyway. This is beautiful! If anyone has trouble with waxpancake's Floodgap link above, use http://gopher.floodgap.com/gopher/gw?gopher://gopher.metafilter.com. Chrome gave me a security warning with the https version (so I went ahead and made it less secure and it seems to work, heh). Also, if you want to make a bookmarklet for this in Firefox or a gopher search engine using this in Chrome, use http://gopher.floodgap.com/gopher/gw?%s. And if you want to enjoy cortex's comment above and my comment in its full glory, install this Chrome extension. Also, looking for that led me to this Easter egg I'd never seen before, which is kinda great, too.

Now if only I could type "link text":http://linkurlhere.com in Textile formatting to make links here (I type links in Redmine all day, what can I say?), all my dreams would be fulfilled.
posted by limeonaire at 6:12 PM on February 24 [5 favorites]


And they say there is no cabal.
posted by blurker at 7:29 PM on February 24


ok, who else telnetted to the lambda moo mud?
posted by marienbad at 7:37 PM on February 24


ok, I walked into the second room of the mud and it got meta:

"This is the second room of a small, three room area. From the small piles of dirt still present, you could probably correctly guess that this place was once a gopher hole. But it has been redesigned and redecorated by some of the best in the business, which is probably why the north wall has "Not a Gopher Hole" messily painted on it in bright red."
posted by marienbad at 7:47 PM on February 24


All I knew was Prodigy, early AOL, Netscape & icq, so I have me some re-education camp adventures comings up. Looks fun!

Though I did have a MOTD for a while when Mac OS first went UNIX.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:57 PM on February 24


Speaking of meta, in circa 2000 library school a bunch of us made an...online magazine? We called it finger, because DIRTY, and already out of date, but also we used finger to, kind of, stalk people we were interested in because it would return information about what computer lab they were logged in at. Also there was one page with an Easter egg which, when you moused over it, triggered a sound file of a bunch of us saying "hellloooooooo" in weird voices.

I still find this all hilarious, and while all the time and energy we put into this thing is confusing, I'd do it again if I were 22.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 8:07 PM on February 24 [2 favorites]


Nerds.
posted by valkane at 8:37 PM on February 24 [3 favorites]


Is this what was on the original MeFi gopher server?
No. Or yes. Not really sure, actually. It was fifteen years ago and Matt doesn't even work here any more, so.


It's not like the guy's dead. He's sitting right there. You could probably ask him for a Zip drive with the source code, though he may have to boot up his old Jaz drive with its whopping 2 GB of capacity.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:41 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]


Y'all know that telnet rainmaker.wunderground.com works too, yeah? I still use that interface to get the weather. Old, lean habits die hard.

My great discovery of the week is 0p.no's weather forecasts by fingerd.
posted by zamboni at 8:58 PM on February 24 [6 favorites]


If gopher is possible surely cortex will be amenable to bringing the img tag back!

Be still my heart.
posted by joost de vries at 9:10 PM on February 24


Has anyone tried the iOS app?
posted by stoneweaver at 10:03 PM on February 24


METAFILTER MUD. That would be sweet.
posted by Justinian at 10:09 PM on February 24 [4 favorites]


The idea of a MeFi MUD has come up so many times and every time the ship of enthusiasm seems to splinter itself to bits on the rocky shoals of actual implementation. If someone wants to actually for realsies just get a motherfucker up and running and get some basic configurational stuff done to light a path for further collaborative modding, I think we could have some fun, but I don't wanna be the one and pb's already more than earned his keep with this tomfoolery.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:57 PM on February 24 [6 favorites]


the ship of enthusiasm seems to splinter itself to bits on the rocky shoals of actual implementation.

> EXAMINE BITS
posted by Etrigan at 11:26 PM on February 24 [3 favorites]


Has anyone tried the iOS app?

Yep - works just fine.
posted by progosk at 11:58 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]


Hah: its search field does Veronica searches - where looking for "metafilter' turned up jacobh's homebrew gophererd metafilter rss:

gopher://sdf-eu.org/0/users/jacobh/rss/rss.txt.cgi?metafilter.com/rss
posted by progosk at 12:07 AM on February 25 [2 favorites]


Why would you do this
Because someone from the community asked us to and it wasn't too much trouble once pb started looking into the implementation details, so we talked it out and—

no but really why would you—

Because we remember what it's like to fall in love.
posted by four panels at 1:58 AM on February 25 [7 favorites]


I'm loving this!
posted by Packed Lunch at 2:09 AM on February 25


It harkens back to a simpler time

mathowie, already harkening 15 years ago....
posted by progosk at 6:28 AM on February 25


> 0p.no's weather forecasts by fingerd

OMG.

> Because we remember what it's like to fall in love.
posted by Westringia F. at 6:51 AM on February 25


Can I access this through FidoNet?

Also holy crap FidoNet is still a thing.
posted by softlord at 7:33 AM on February 25 [1 favorite]


When my dad was a kid in Florida in the 30s, he worked at orange groves catching gophers.
posted by JanetLand at 7:37 AM on February 25 [1 favorite]


I just did some gophin', and it made me feel like RMS reading web pages in Emacs!
posted by ignignokt at 8:07 AM on February 25


Aww, man, this gives me feels even though I mostly missed gopher back when it was a thing; I spent plenty of time on BBSes in the late eighties but then wound up taking an online hiatus for a couple of years in the early nineties, and after that I pretty much used just email and nntp... and then came the one-two punch of http and ubiquitous windowed operating systems. I still find myself firing up Lynx/Links fairly regularly... sometimes just to test connectivity, sometimes as a sanity check for a web site or app I might be working on; if your HTML5/CSS3/Javascripted-to-hell-and-back web project is usable in Links, you're doing it right.

Time to go poke around the Telnet BBS guide and see if there are any in my neck of the woods.
posted by usonian at 8:35 AM on February 25 [1 favorite]


RMS wrote to me out of the blue about a programming project I did and I mentioned it to some friends because I was like, weird, why did RMS write to me out of the blue? And they were like OH NO HE'S GOING TO ASK YOU TO GPL IT and then he asked me to GPL it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:41 AM on February 25 [26 favorites]


You can get the weather in your terminal window. (Definitely works on mac and linux. IDK about windows power shell. Don't forget to fullscreen your terminal.) Replace the city with whichever one you care about:
curl http://wttr.in/Indianapolis
(You can also see basically the same thing if type the address into one of those fancy new-fangled world wide web browsers, but who has the memory for one of those?!)
posted by double block and bleed at 10:23 AM on February 25 [4 favorites]


cortex: "RMS wrote to me out of the blue about a programming project I did and I mentioned it to some friends because I was like, weird, why did RMS write to me out of the blue? And they were like OH NO HE'S GOING TO ASK YOU TO GPL IT and then he asked me to GPL it."

Did you tell him you open-sourced it because that's just as good?
posted by double block and bleed at 10:25 AM on February 25 [9 favorites]


Yay! Gopher!

*sound of chair scraping, "Hmph," and then pages being turned*

So what else in my copy of Ed Krol's "The Whole Internet" can you revive, eh, Doctor Frankenstein?

Maybe the entire USENET User List, as maintained at MIT (p. 178), or the Yanoff List (p.325)? Perhaps the television show archives from the FTP server coe.montana.edu (p.327)? Or the smut-bookmarks on "Justin's Links from the Underground"?
posted by wenestvedt at 12:59 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


Yay! So awesome!
posted by kalessin at 1:43 PM on February 25


double block and bleed, you missed the best airport code for demoing this: LOL.
posted by maryr at 1:51 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]


All glory to the Gopher!
posted by homunculus at 4:04 PM on February 25


cortex: "dating to the late pre-Septembrian era"

A great little reference. For those unfamiliar with the terminology, see "Eternal September."
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 4:27 PM on February 25 [4 favorites]


dammit Apple! gopher URLs unsupported in iOS (uh) Safari! I guess i have to drag the PowerComputing box out of deep storage now.
posted by mwhybark at 7:10 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


If you're on a Mac and you use homebrew, you can just open a terminal window and type:

brew update
brew install lynx
lynx gopher://gopher.metafilter.com
posted by escape from the potato planet at 7:25 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


A lot more fun than it should be! Great work!
posted by p3t3 at 7:28 PM on February 25


I spent two glorious summers building out gophers (and other information systems). There was SO much good stuff buried in gophers around the world, just hiding there in 5 directories down, 2 links over, and another 12 directories down.

When I figured out I could embed telnet links in gophers, I was suddenly able to access my email and internet bbses from any library on grounds. SCORE.

Gopher is also how I first heard about the web. I remember getting into a debate with a random grad student who was convinced that the web would only be an adjunct to gopher, which would clearly be the future of information systems. I totally enjoyed Nelson Muntzing him at the end of that summer when I went back to college.
posted by julen at 10:06 PM on February 25


Anyway you could host the server in Australia served by an ISDN line? 'Cause that would crank "OMG this is Cooool" nostalgia factor up to 11 for me.
posted by Mitheral at 12:32 AM on February 26




pb: what server did you use? (Also: the retired Camino browser is an excellent Gopher client by the way)
posted by lodev at 3:43 AM on February 26


We're using PyGopherd.
posted by pb (staff) at 8:14 AM on February 26 [2 favorites]


IMO there's a lot of ecological room for text-only, non-HTML services, especially on modern hardware that is so ridiculously overpowered that such services are basically rounding errors.

The main problems to overcome have to do with the changed landscape, since early internet times, of privacy, discoverability, convenience and abuse-prevention. Things like gopher and tilde.club are hints in the right direction, but I think some careful directed redesign might also be in order.
posted by ead at 9:29 AM on February 26 [1 favorite]


Nelson Muntzing is my new favorite verb.
posted by slogger at 12:06 PM on February 26


It hit hacker news.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 1:11 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


I tried to log in to Discworld MUD the other day and found out my character had been deleted :( That was a bit of a shock tbh, even though I'm much younger then most of the people here and have only been playing since like 2010. It was one of my first online communities though.

Anyway, if I ever get around to installing a gopher client MeFi will be the first (and probably) only server on it.
posted by nightpool at 1:51 PM on February 26


It slightly defrosts my black, frozen heart that you guys did this just because. Maybe there is hope for humanity after all.
posted by dg at 2:03 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


Thanks! Very nice!
posted by anadem at 4:30 PM on February 26


So, we can't log in, post, or search, just view posts and comments?

(not a criticism, just trying to understand the functionality.)
posted by leotrotsky at 4:34 PM on February 26


Well, I love this. I recorded a video of what it looks like in Lynxlet in case anyone can't try it for whatever reason.

The information-per-square-measurement is so high it feels super efficient. And it's amazingly fast. Material Design can go take a hike, man.
posted by circular at 6:04 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


So, we can't log in, post, or search, just view posts and comments

Yep, that's all there is to it!
posted by pb (staff) at 6:21 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


WHAT??? No favorites? No likes? What the hell good is it??


Man, seriously though, I'm pretty sure that the last time I used Gopher was on a 300-baud modem. With an acoustic coupler. Using some terminal program, was it Kermit?? That front page there would take a couple of minutes.

As a Ski-U-Mah alum, I trust the RAH-RAHs will be kept to a minimum. Gopher was a damned ugly coms tool. Sank like a submarine with screen doors.
posted by Twang at 6:56 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


I tried to go to bed, but I couldn't, because I fell down a gopher hole. THANKS OBAMA PB!
posted by Jubal Kessler at 8:06 PM on February 26


I witnessed the rise and fall of Gopher as a student worker for the U of Minn's Computing Services department, from the original Hypercard client pieced together over Thanksgiving to yearly conferences on Gopher attracting attendees from across the country. It was good for the time, but the web seemed to have the winning combo of free server software and user-enterable addresses.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:15 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


Seriously good, many thanks!
posted by carter at 9:05 PM on February 26


So, we can't log in, post, or search, just view posts and comments

Yep, that's all there is to it!


And a responsive layout by default ...
posted by carter at 9:12 PM on February 26


Can confirm Raspbian + Lynx on a Pi 2 works.

First post is titled, "Dearest Nerds", which is appropriate.

-- Big Fat Nerd
posted by sidereal at 11:08 AM on February 27


I snuck those in specifically for Lynx years ago. I might be able to pull some strings on the other sites.

FWIW, they don't show up with links. (The browser.)
posted by kenko at 9:04 AM on February 28


Sorry kenko, we're probably not going to do much more tweaking on the text browser front. You might see if setting a fake user agent as "Lynx" improves things for you.
posted by pb (staff) at 7:58 AM on February 29


Hit the Register, too.
posted by birdsquared at 12:35 PM on February 29


Once again, my deepest thanks goes out to pb for once again making Metafilter one of the best sites to use with Lynx. This thread loaded in maybe 100ms. It looks great too. Using it via ssh and screen means I never worry about losing my place.

Because of work, I'm more Windows based than *nix these days, but I really appreciated it when my absurd problem was taken seriously.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 10:17 AM on March 2 [3 favorites]


> On the table in front of you is a plate of beans.
posted by mrbill at 6:18 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


> examine plate of beans

The beans were cooked with a very fancy expensive bacon and have been on the table for an unknown amount of time and are currently at room temperature.
posted by advicepig at 10:06 AM on March 4


Someone please please post the Canonical Light Bulb Joke txtfile and the Anarchist's Cookbook ok thanks
posted by not_on_display at 1:12 AM on March 5


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