What's the deal with gemini?
Hi! I've heard tilderinos talking about the gemini-verse on some other posts; I tried it out this evening and it honestly felt strange browsing in terminal and even stranger navigating the web without search engines. I was wondering if anyone had a gentler introduction than the official site? I feel like I've got a ship, but no map to this new verse.
Gemini has search engines! You can find them linked from the circumlunar homepage. You may prefer to use a browser like Kristall if the terminal is a bit austere.
I'm getting hostname/cert errors with these -- tildes isn't stackoverflow, but do you have an idea what might be going wrong? Is someone's server just off?
It could be that their server is dead, it is more likely that you have an old version of their certificate - be sure to clear the cached certificate for that domain in such a way as your gemini browser allows it, and then try again.
Can you access my server at
gemini://tokeniser.uk? I know it to be online and the certificate has not changed in a long time.
Hrm, I can get there with
moonlander, but not with
bombadillo(which was what I was using), even after purging certificates. Not sure what's going on there, but thanks for the advice!
Same problem here with bombadillo.
There is Castor, a nice gtk/rust browser too.
In the end is just a bunch of small homepages/blogs. You won't find much there because it's not popular, less popular than gopher which is still a small community, but it has the old school vibe of the beginning of the internet.
Like others have said, it's mostly smaller personal blogs and pages. There's gus.guru for search, and a lot of hosting options if you want to throw something up. What else do you want to know?
Ah, I think I'm mostly wondering about the appeal. For me, (a bona-fide 20-something that never grew up in the "old" internet) it feels like a strange in-between? I'm seeing lots of homepages and blogs, but not really any connection between folks, despite the seeming draw of a sense of community on these platforms.
I think that's what I'm wondering, is it satisfying for folks to just put stuff up on the web, with little to no likelihood of a response? Am I alone in enjoying the thought of someone listening, someday? I think that's where I'm stuck with this -- I feel like I'm not getting something.
(edit#2: I'm a bona-fide 40-something that grew up with the internet. My brother ran a BBS in a closet in our tiny apartment. The dotcom era was basically a "free booze and food" era if you like me was young and unemployed and could make up technically sounding titles to random bankers at the door wondering who invited you)
Young man, pull up a chair and listen...
The internet was amazing. Imagine the most anarchic nonsense you can imagine, interspersed with absolute brilliance. The thing you love? It was there, hidden in layers of layers of basically same-looking html webpages, and attempts at wikis, and webrings.
Imagine suddenly one day talking to someone from the other side of the world - I can't stress this enough. Suddenly, one day, the place you've never been to - that you only had weird stereotypes about - you could TALK to them! Random people! And they where just like you!
EDIT: Really, this is the big thing, I grew up being taught Americans where dumb, racist, violent and fat. A nation filled with slobbering imperialists dreaming of murder and fatty food.
So the first time I talked to someone from the US and realized that she was just another idiot. Like me. Sure there where differences, but the both of us and then a guy from the Middle East, and this dude from Spain where talking and we where just anything but the stereotypes everyone assumed we where. More AND less. It was beautiful.
Then the ads came along. Then the spying and the massive communities handled by huge companies. The beautiful interfaces designed to make you post over and over, to update over and over, to push you harder and harder to divulge personal information and marketable data.
It became more about showing a fake you, than having a place - a hidden spot - to talk to people, to read, write and do shit. People hashtagging images from gyms, diners and vacations.
The people I see as my oldest friends are posting things that makes them strangers to me, they have to though because its what they are when they need employment.
The internet was a hidden forest with monsters and creatures you could run free with. Now its a well trimmed garden with guards at the gates and a fancy chain café with the only toilet.
I love what you wrote, and the way you've put it. I was still young at the time of geocities and the early web, but I still remember my ICQ friends and the thrill of finding a new, hidden homepage and trying to connect with the author to be part of their webring. The web wasn't commercial, it was a place to connect. That's what I miss these days. Everything's done with a hidden agenda to capture users, generate revenue, and so on. Everything except smaller webs like Gemini!
I think the normal web can still be somewhat free though tbh - depending on free sites used - but in fairness I should probably read up more on the subject and the alternatives.
^ Yes! And honestly, this is the great thing about what one user has termed the "smol web" -- gopher, gemini, IRC, tilde sites, etc. It's like when I first started using Linux and talked on the CrunchBang Forum -- I met someone from like, Malaysia, and we were pals. It was really cool.
You where on the #! forums too?!?!?!?! It was my first intro in to Linux and my go-to forum. Nice people, mellow attitude, friendly and helpful without oversimplifying. My computer still have a sticker I was given by a dude in the US - its old AF and need to be replaced but that sticker has to come with.
After that I got involved with KDE (now a KDE eV member) and spent years being sponsored and working with KDE - but without Crunchbang and the forums I would have just backed slowly out of it all (I checked in the Debian forums for my question that first time and saw someone else ask it and get torn to shreds by people calling him a moron - asked the same thing on #! and they just answered and said "welcome" <3 )
Hey, yes I was! I was mahatman2 over there :) I've got to say, I've run into a few #! expats and they're all really cool, lol. It was a great community --- and actually BunsenLabs has a bunch of the same folks, it looks like, in their forum.
That's so cool you got a sticker. I wasn't much of a merch guy but I kind of wish I were now.
Should we get back to the Bunsenlabs forums? I mean like a "Crunchbang Expats" sort of subgroup? That could be kinda fun.
Haha, sure, if you want to ask about setting it up :) There's still some folx on Bunsenlabs that were using #! and who don't still use BL, so it might be okay.
Being a 'bona-fide'lul 14-yo teen (Reddit.Inc celebrates their birthdays before I do lol) I'm gonna gave to ask for context.
So, like panning for gold in a river? Doesn't sound all that fun. You can stumble into funny things but it sounds like that would get tiring eventually if the reason you're there isn't to basically digitally wander around for fun, right? (Also, what's a webring?)
I agree that doing that for the first time where that was previously impossible seems great but it's not like that went away, I mean come on, we're literally doing exactly this right now. Sure algorithms are getting in the way of that and they suck when that's what they're made for in any social media platform, but it's not like those interactions have gone extinct, even in the major, commercial (above all else at this point) platforms.
These seem like capitalism/neoliberalism/crony capitalism problems, not really Social Media problems. We can go back on most of the stuff you're talking about without abandoning the social media-like structure entirely, and it's not like you disagree with that. (Although obviously that's not simple/easy to do.) That's not too far from what this site is/wants to be/achieve, really.
I also have one more question.
IIRC, the Internet/WWW was made for the purposes of easing communication and collecting/sharing of scientific (and/or military) data. Doesn't stuff like this and the emphasis on how it's gonna be hidden kinda run against that?
Before we go can I just toss in a "Stop messing with my rosy tinted memory of the past damnit!"? :) Nostalgia is, as the saying goes, crack cocaine for old people and you're messing with my glass pipe.
Absolutely its a capitalism issue! - I mean anything created as a new social arena has a grace period of existing outside of the logic of the Capital. It's just a matter of time before it becomes commodified and set under some form of control.
You raise a good argument here too that the connection between people was NEW not unique for then (plus the "nostalgia crack" as mentioned above) - but I would like say that due to the fact that the internet now IS a part of the logic of capital, from software, via hardware solutions and up to the way we are taught to handle it, its difficult to bring back.
I mean the social media system is designed with way different motivations than say... a forum. The design work that goes in to the way you update a site, or how you post, etc - that are now part of what a standard social media experience is, was created carefully to make people behave in certain ways. Push for posting, an updating system designed to become addictive.
The issue here is that its part of our social mindset now in a way it never was. The way we are taught to interact with them are so insanely different from how a (for example) forum functions. Thats not because things where better designed before - they where just not following a design paradigm which also had a well crafted system of addiction and behavioral control baked in to them. It was the grace of lack of design.
Everything we do isn't just documented, its packaged from our very first interaction with the outside world, to fit in to that logic. Its not just the technology that has changed, its how we interact with the surrounding world. We behave in a way that is catering to a technology designed for our subjugation in to a logic of commodities and buyers (this isn't new either, its the fact that more parts of our social life is lumped in to it that is problematic).
Social media sites like Mastodon, mimicking the design systems of twitter, often carry with them the social drawbacks of twitter since the design push for a certain form of behavior.
Well to be honest it wasn't that hard - and it was fun. This can be me remembering it through my crack-lenses (as mentioned above) but there was a bigger sense of source criticism about the information found.
Not to sound like a broken marxist record or something - I think its origin now is irrelevant. It was irrelevant the second the first BBS came along. The technology at that level was stolen, placed in a social context, became an arena using and abusing parts of it outside of the capitalist logic and was then grafted back in.
The issue - which I think you are raising in your post - is can the current technology and design by moved outside of the logic of capital in the same way?
Can we pluck it out and reuse it, re-purpose it to fit us instead of Capital? And then HOW?
Looks like no one answered this, but a webring was the concept of having a bunch of websites that each linked to others, in a big ring. So each site would show you two other sites in the ring. If you found a site you liked, it might be on a webring of similar sites and you could just walk through the list one by one.
This is too accurate, sadly. We always talk about how the internet connects everyone, but we just stay in our bubbles anyway, consuming our feeds...
I don't know about Gemini, but in the early days of the web, seeing that a lot of other people had web pages was enough to make you want you to make your own.
We looked at server logs to see if we're getting any traffic. I wonder if that works for Gemini? It's not social proof, though, since you can't see how much traffic other people are getting.
Also, feedback was either with simple comment forms or email. This wasn't a big deal before spam. Putting your email address on your web page wasn't a big deal either; if you keep your email address private, how can anyone contact you?
You can absolutely check logs for traffic on gemini. I think all the major servers generate logs. Or you can write your own with whatever logging you'd like, since it's a pretty simple protocol.
There's a good amount of connection! It's kind of hard to see from the outside because there's not really a graph (there's gemini://gus.guru/threads, but it's experimental/not updated) ... but there's a lot of chat back-and-forth on people's own capsules. A popular thing is Christine's "5Q" threads each month, which I've participated in as well: gemini://gemini.circumlunar.space/users/christina/5Q.gmi . Which has also been taken up by a user named bronzie, as well: gemini://multiverse.thruhere.net/5q/index.gmi .
For me, I like the idea of putting my thoughts out there for others to find someday, sort of like a treasure. That's what I really like about the "smol web," to borrow a term, in general -- when I stumble upon someone's personal site that's just their thing, without any angling for hirability or SEO or anything, it's really refreshing and makes me think about the "brotherhood (siblinghood?) of humankind" ... if that makes sense.
Also, if you have a space on gemini.circumlunar.space or gemlog.blue, you'll get pulled in to the two main feed receptacles of gemini: CAPCOM (gemini://gemini.circumlunar.space/capcom) and Spacewalk (gemini://rawtext.club/~sloum/spacewalk.gmi). So there's that too.
That's fairly insulting to web developers. That was my job for a decade and none of it was "marketing"
One thing to consider is that a lot of the people active on Gemini and Gopher interact by other means :) Many users are active on tildes and pubnixes for example. Another thing to consider is that the absence of things that make the web seem more connected and alive (like buttons, retweets, comment chains etc.) is part of the appeal for some people. Gemini is simple by design, and implementing those quirks of the web involves working within the limits of the protocol. It has been done though! There are wikis and gemlogs with comment functionality :)
Edit: Also, personally, I like having to browse around and visit people’s pages rather than just having it all served up in a feed. That’s something I really missed about the web in recent years. Even MySpace was still kind of like that when it started...it was...your space. We are in the habit of passively scrolling and reacting, which we are finding, is incredibly damaging to society and to democracy.