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So You Want to Surf Gopherspace

Posted 08-01-2010 at 02:47 PM by uxrs75
Updated 08-02-2010 at 05:09 PM by uxrs75

Anyone remember the Gopher protocol? I don't---at least, I don't remember it at its height. I first came across gopher in 1999, but only really started exploring it about five years ago, well after most nodes had been shuttered and their content moved to http. But even in its reduced form, there was a charm about gopher that drew me in, and which has taken root. And so, every so often, I wander through gopherspace, just to see what might be new, or old, or forgotten, or simply to enjoy the peace and quite of a hierarchical content structure.

Browsers With Full Gopher Support
  • Lynx - provides the most extensive support for gopher.
  • Camino - full support since before version 1.0.
  • Firefox - full support from version 1.5 to 3.x. Support discontinued from version 4. More robust support can be had by installing the Overbite extension.
  • Seamonkey - full support since before version 1.0 to 2.0.x. Support discontinued from version 2.1.

Starting in Mozilla 1.9.3 (the core of Firefox), support for gopher will be removed completely, so future versions of Firefox, Camino and Seamonkey will not support the protocol either.

For more detailed information on the removal, read the following bugzilla reports:

Browsers With Partial Gopher Support
  • Elinks - by default, it calls on lynx to access gopher sites. It can have reasonable support (but can have difficulty getting page information and menus in certain instances), if you are willing to compile it form source. The features.conf file will need to be edited before compiling; just locate the line that says CONFIG_GOPHER=no and replace that no with a yes.
  • Internet Explorer - support was available up to version 5. Support was disabled in versions 5.* and 6, but can be enabled by editing the Windows registry by adding the following entry:
     EnableGopher = dword:00000001

Browsers That Require A Plugin

Browsers With No Gopher Support
  • Safari
  • Opera
  • Internet Explorer - version 7 and up.

If you are using one of the browsers listed above, you'll need to use a gopher-to-http gateway such as:

Places to Start
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