Rocking the Web Bloat: Modern Gopher, Gemini and the Small Internet

James Tomasino

Playlists: 'MCH2022' videos starting here / audio

The web is a mess, bloated with data-gathering trackers, predatory UX, massive resource loads, and it is absorbing everything it touches. The Small Internet is a counter-cultural movement to wrangle things back under control via minimalism, hands-on participation, and good old fashioned conversation. At its heart are technologies like the venerable Gopher protocol or the new Gemini protocol offering a refuge and a place to dream of a better future.

Join me and be reintroduced to Gopher in 2021 and learn what this old friend has to offer us in a world full of web services and advertising bombardment. We will also explore the new Gemini protocol and how it differs from Gopher and HTTP.

We will explore the protocols themselves, their history, and what the modern ecosystems are like. I will briefly review the technical details of implementing servers or clients of your own, and how to author content as a user. Discussion will cover limitations, grey-areas, and trade-offs in exchange for speed and simplicity.

Through these alternative protocols we'll see the small internet in action.