WebPositive as a Gopher Client

Hi there! Recently, I’ve started to delve into Gopherspace which is enjoying a kind of resurge as an uncommercialised, uncensored alternative to the Web as of late, and found it quite a refreshing experience. It’s plain text (and ASCII art) only, of course, and you need to know a thing or two about how net protocols work. You also need, of course, a Client to access the Gopher protocol. There are several interesting projects by enthusiast developers available, but I found them all overly complicated to install or they just wouldn’t work on my computers. (Don’t you hate it when you find a cool app on the Web and would love to get and use it but can’t, because you first have to install a load of dependencies, then some new-fangled fashionable programming language it’s coded in, then a compiler for said language, then the dependencies for that compiler, and then still get a “file not found” or no reaction at all from your system? Kids -: Not everyone out there is a developer. And please do code in C.)
The easiest way to access the Gopher protocol, I found, was via a command line browser like Lynx. It’s fast and reliable, but I still wanted something with a GUI like a Web browser. And I found it: It’s good old WebPositive, available on an obscure niche OS called Haiku:) ! It still supports Gopher, I read (after all, Web browsers are basically http Clients. Why shouldn’t they support Gopher, ftp, and other protocols, too?), a legacy from its beginnings in the old days as NetPositive [edit: or rather not, see below]. So, I called it up, typed in some gopher links, and there they were, just like that! This is one great feature - please, dear WebPositive developers, keep it, don’t discard it as obselete! -
Curious? Want to have a go at Gopherspace? You might want to start with gopher://gopherpedia.com, gopher://sdf.org, gopher://cosmic.voyage, or gopher://circumlunar.space. All just a click away on WebPositive…


Good day @BarefootMartina,

You have the Lynx and Links, both text web browsers that supports gopher protocol available on Haiku. Just head to HaikuDepot and install one of them, and it will be like 1995 again :smile:.


WebPositive supports Gopher natively, why install something else?

It is in fact a relatively recent addition (in the last 5 years I think?) and there seem to be no reason to remove it as far as I know, as in fact the web browser doesn’t know much about it - it just happens that our network backend allows getting things from Gopher :slight_smile:

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For the vintage feel of it… :rofl::rofl:
Remember Mosaic??? :rofl::rofl::rofl:

Thanx for the hint - I did try to install the Links browser on Haiku, but HaikuDepot is, it turned out, already deactivated for Beta1. I’ll have to wait for Beta2 to access the Depot again. As I said, however, I wanted a graphical Gopher browser, just for ease of use (since there are of course no graphics to display), and found it in WebPositive. On Linux, you need to install Dooble to get the same experience, while on Haiku, you have it in the system default browser. Isn’t this great? Gopherspace is the future!:slight_smile:

Hey, that’s great to hear! And yes, exactly what I mean: Why install something else, when the system default browser gets you into Gopherspace right away? Ah, and it’s a recent addition? I had surmised it to be a legacy feature because Gopher was pronounced dead long ago, while in fact it has been there all the time - and seems to be up and coming as the users try to take back the net from the corporations.

Relatively. 6 years ago, by local gopher mmu_man. :smiley_cat:

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Well I would think using another protocol would not really help with that but… well there you go, it’s reachable if you need or want it :slight_smile:

Of course Gopherspace is a niche, not a revolution, but it does provide the kind of freedom the early Internet had and a refuge from the brutal and inane place it has become. It’s for the users by the users - and no one will infest your computer with cookies and trackers there, everything’s innocent and playful. I find the minimalism a relief, too.
Also, it’s just technically interesting to realise there’s not just http. Have you heard about the dat protocol, for instance? It’s accessed via the Beaker browser and provides a serverless net where everything is stored on the users’ own computers. It’s a more modern protocol than Gopher, supporting graphics and everything like http does. I think it has about 20 users right now :), but it’s a beginning.

Yes, but I’m hosting my own website over http and without cookies. That’s perfectly doable too and I would say it’s more likely to reach the potential readers this way. That doesn’t prevent having fun with Gopher too, but I’d say if your goal is to have people stay in control of their content, doing that over http is perfectly possible and more likely to reach people. It’s easier to sell that with “see? it looks and works just like any other website, but it’s hosted on your own computer and no one can easily censor it” than “ok, so you have to install a special browser to access it. And by the way, you can only have text, no images, not even formatting”.

Well, it depends what your goals are, I guess :slight_smile:

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Granted, the WWW has become the place it is because of the users, not because of its transfer protocol, but Gopherspace is an adventure, “a community you can’t buy”, as it says on the rawtext.club Gopher page (also available via https, btw, and another great place to visit). It’s something else, everything’s slightly weird there in an appealing way. I’m quite fond of it and would wish for it to be more widely known - and I’m really thankful that WebPositive (often treated derisively) provides such easy access to it. That’s why I posted my OP.

Please ask yourself: Why would the Haiku project deactivate Beta1 repos if there is no Beta2 yet?

That would make no sense at all and it is definetely not true.
If you have any problem, report it at dev.haiku-os.org, do not just say to yourself that it is normal, because it isn’t.

Next time please check your facts for example asking here or at irc. Who knows how many people have already seen your comment and said to himself: “Here is the proof that Haiku a toy os, better not test it at all.”

It could be that he mean the server alpha to beta1 here we change the server address in the past?

No, it is true; we had to swap over the HaikuPorts package repositories to build against beta2 already, and in the process deactivated the beta1 ones.

Oh, wow. In cases like this at least a front-page article would be the minimum, right? Does the users seeing an explanation or warning in HaikuDepot about this?

Well, @extrowerk, I guess an apology is in order…

Seriously, even if you were right, the tone of your post was needlessly aggressive. As I’ve said before, when you counter a post that you feel is wrong, answer as if you were addressing your mother in law.
Be polite, even if you know she’ll still hate your guts… :grinning:

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Sorry, i already restarted to work, had no time to do it yet, but @humdinger have right, my condolences.

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