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From the relevance link:

"by divorcing interface from information, Gopher sites stand and shine on the strength of their content and not the glitz of their bling."

Forcing content creators to focus on the strength of their content is pretty much a non-starter for most modern commercial enterprises. Which is why it's amazingly useful, but likely futile.

The departure of the modern web from text that has links -> full heterogeneous application suites that run in an elaborate VM has been wonderful for users of desktop applications, in that they no longer need to maintain several stacks of software, but just their browser.

However - those who enjoyed text + links were left behind. I really just wanted text with some links. Thinking about setting up my own websites as a gopher site, just don't know the best ways to proxy it back to HTTP best.

I think pocket, instapaper, readability etc were all essentially peeks into a style of web we could have had where content presentation was something a user has decent control over.

There's Lynx--the text web-browser. [1]

Someone wrote up their experience using Lynx on the web around 2012. [2] Conclusion: "Not all the sites are usable with Lynx, but many of them offer at least basic functionality using the text-only web browser."

As long as there's HTML output, a more humane web browser could allow better customization of the information; it could infer the usual human organizational methods; lists, metrics, groupings, buttons, etc, and present it with your favorite background color, font size, line-length, image size, videos, etc, based on the hierarchical structure. The other camp is web apps, which is a different use case.

[1] http://lynx.invisible-island.net/

[2] http://royal.pingdom.com/2012/06/25/using-web-browser-lynx-v...

IMO, elinks[1] does a much better job of rendering web content in a terminal. Google actually looks pretty good, and gmail is not too bad either.

[1] http://elinks.or.cz/

Not only is gmail not too bad, in some ways, it's better[0], imo.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11023851

Elinks is my preferred browser on the terminal, it also has gopher support. DuckDuckGo looks very good with Elinks by the way!

Has elinks development stopped? I vastly preferred it to lynx, but it seems unmaintained now.

Looks like there's limited activity still ongoing.


>However - those who enjoyed text + links were left behind. I really just wanted text with some links.

I'm not sure why this can't be done with HTTP? I have a Neocities page which is nothing but text and links with a barely-formatted page to be slightly-better-than-default.

Examples (NSFW language as obvious from the URL's but otherwise SFW):



(Note: Above two examples aren't my sites.)

This is actually addressed in the 'relevance' link above, and was the preamble to the text that I quoted.

"On the Web, even if such a group of confederated webmasters existed, it requires their active and willful participation to maintain such a hierarchical style and the seamlessness of that joint interface breaks down abruptly as soon as one leaves for another page. Within Gopherspace, all Gophers work the same way and all Gophers organize themselves around similar menus and interface conceits. It is not only easy and fast to create gopher content in this structured and organized way, it is mandatory by its nature. Resulting from this mandate is the ability for users to navigate every Gopher installation in the same way they navigated the one they came from, and the next one they will go to."

Simply put, it can't reasonably be done with HTTP/HTML because it requires active management (which as I pointed out is basically a non-starter), instead of being 'baked in' like it is with Gopher.

You could use a browser plug-in that required pages with a particular attribute to conform to a Gopher-like schema.

> ... full heterogeneous application suites that run in an elaborate VM has been wonderful for users of desktop applications...

Since the announce of Webassembly, I have a scenario in mind. As you say, the VM can become a complete hypervisor that can can run a full OS. At that point, the browser will become useless and we could get rid of all the complexity of CSS and HTML and close that episode of internet.

Another point is for AI and robots, beautiful design is not a priority.

...and then inside that full OS, what are you going to use to replace what CSS and HTML do now?

Gopher :-)

:) Might want to put SSL around it, though. And then strictly forbid anyone from reimplementing an HTML browser inside the browser OS!

I'm sure that the convenience of a single application is attractive, but it doesn't seem to be worth it. With standalone applications, I never need to worry about a company yanking it out from under me, or forcing an update that I don't want.

On the other hand, you do have to worry about installing it on Windows/Mac/Debian/Fedora/Arch/FreeBSD/Darwin.

And worry about it deleting your root file system (https://github.com/MrMEEE/bumblebee-Old-and-abbandoned/commi...).

I agree with your points, but we should remember why the web got so popular: a safe, seamless software distribution mechanism. Recent OS's have approached this. (https://xkcd.com/1367/)

Gopher + text based advertisements? Maybe the answer to ad-blocking is a system with restricted display options.

Yes, you're right. It's not sexy for business but for Wikipedia (for example) it can be enough.

It can also be a tool for programmers or geeks (like markdown). It's more a niche.

Also, hard to show ads there. This is why RSS failed too.

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