A new internet protocol!

So I've recently become enamored with this new internet protocol that's been cooking in nooks and crannies of the internet for several months: the gemini protocol.

You can read about it at> This site is the tip of the gemini web iceberg on the http world-wide-web (aka the "HTTP protocol").

As I typed above, the web you know is mostly sites with urls that are in the "HTTP" protocol, such as the site you are presently on

The gemini protocol means that urls in the gemini web look like this: gemini://

In fact the above is the gemini web version of the HTTP site (the "real" version). You can click it, but your browser will not navigate this url, because it does not understand the



So the first thing you need to do to explore geminispace is to download in build/install one of the gemini clients linked at A cool thing is that once you set up a client and go to the gemini site at, you will see that it actually has *more information*. That's your first stop through the rabbit hole.

So What is Gemini, anyway?

Well, gemini was developed by a sub-community of the (probably already small) Gopher community on the web. What is Gopher, you say? Well, Gopher was a pre-http/www protocol that was started around 1991 at the University of Minnesota--you can read more about Gopher in its Wikipedia entry. It was a text-only alternative to the WWW, and fell by the wayside because of it--though it was pretty cool for awhile, and stored a lot of data. You can see what's on it now through this http gateway at (If you want to make your own Gopher site, you can on a free unix shell account at SDF Public Access Unix ).

So for the past several years there has been a community that, seeking a simpler web, got back to the basics and started--or continued, in some cases--using the gopher protocol. Less noise, no cookies and ads, just information communicated via text. People did expand it to do some other cool things as well (cgi programs and such), but even when I dabbled in it, I found the gopher syntax frustrating. In-document links to other pages (forget in-line links!) forced you to use a complicated "menu" system that didn't make much sense to me, and the whole thing is designed to fit in text monitor-run systems, assuming a 70 char screen.

Well, smarter folks than me realized that not only is gopher a pain compared to modern ideas around web pages and web page markup languages, it's also not secure or private at all because of its text-based nature (and oldness). So they took what they liked about gopher--the text-based communications--added some modern connection privacy and security--via TLS--and made a simple markup language (very wiki/markdownish) that supports in-document, though not in-line, links--also from gopher--and wrapped it all up in its own protocol, to carve a separate gemini web.

(You may ask, why don't you just use retro HTTP 0.9 or something? Well, there are good reasons, and you can find them discussed at or better, at gemini:// (go ahead, click it again, your browser can't go there!)

There are several clients and several servers that have been created for your use in gemini space. And if you are interested in putting up a gemini site, there are several gemini servers that provide hosting of your gemblog or whatever. These are purely for the good of gemini space, people allowing folks to log in to their spaces and put up gemini content.

Alternately, as I said, you can host your own server. I myself have set up a jetforce server at gemini:// just for fun that you can check out, if you figure out how to get there...

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