Setting a Gopher hole
As the beginning of the 2021 came through as setting a Gemini capsule, the beginning of the 2022 is coming through as setting a Gopher hole. I've decided to sign up for sdf.org account, because there is a big gopher community and I didn't want to stuck in as some pioneer somewhere else. So it should be easy thing to set up Gopher hole there. No it wasn't so obvious.
My "setting" recipe
The whole process of setting up a Gopher hole is easy, of course for everyone who had set up earlier one. There aren't any special and complicated software, there are only text files and Unix-like system.
As a model user I started from manual. I visited [SDF Gopher FAQ] which can't be described as a very detailed source of knowledge. There is reference for `mkgopher` internal command, which is helper for doing so. So... I tried it. It confused me more, than it helped me. After a while, I knew that I must make everything from command line on my own. I noticed on [SDF Gopher Tutorial] two more helpers. There is 'mkgopherentry' script and `phlog` command. First one also confused me in creation of gophermap file (script's output is a bit oddy). The second one was a bit mysterious, but finally I got its purpose (it's only a trigger for linking on [Gopher Club Phlogs]).
So as I had written before, it's better to set your Gopher hole on your own. But there are hidden traps, which aren't described in clear way in FAQ or tutorial.
- You need a symlink from your home directory: `gopher -> /ftp/pub/users/szczezuja`, which I made by 'mkgopher' command and by calling "SETPU" inside it;
- You need some content, for example textfile, which you want to publish on Gopher;
- You need to create a gophermap text file, which is pointing for that content;
- You need to set up proper file permission in your home directory - as described on [Slugmax SDF Gopher Tutorial]: `chmod o+r files` and `chmod o+rx directories`;
As [Ruarí @ 2022-01-11 23:41] told me, the last point is specific for sdf.org, and it's caused by default permissions on this server. But it's good to know about it, because it is showing a simplicity of Gopher servers. There are no a special layer of permissions, if you are set "read for everyone" your files are public. In modern web-servers era, we sometimes believe in some kind of magic which would protect us. In the era of Gopher things were simpler.
It took me a while to settled gophermap topic in my mind. The whole idea is also simple, but I was spoiled by `mkgopherentry` example output. In the most cases we need only a little of the full gophermap. And as I understand, part of the rest isn't a official standard (so sometimes could be served in a different way in different servers and clients). So as it's described in [Slugmax SDF Gopher Tutorial]:
XSome text here<TAB>/path/to/content<TAB>example.org<TAB>N
Where X in most cases is 0 - for text files, and 1 - for directories. And that's enough for gophermap, you don't need any scripts for it.
For me the whole idea of content and gophermap is a bit fragile. One mistaken character or permission, during the first or next uploads could broke our Gopher hole. It could be hard to test all links. I understand why many things in Gophersphere are broken.
But the most difficult part of Gopher protocol for today's user could be lack of UTF-8. I don't think about emojis or other special things. Rather about letters of non English alphabet (like "Z with overdot" in "Szczeżuja") or (which was also found in my articles) characters like double typographic quotes.
So I safely landed in Gophersphere. You can read my content at [Szczeżuja's Gopher hole]. I plan to publish there subset of articles from Geminispace (via [Formatting Gemtext for Gopher] script) about Gopher. It's aim to be closer to Gophersphere user, which could be not interested in Gemini.
It wasn't so easy, but it's easy. For me easier was to set up Gemini capsule.
[SDF Gopher FAQ]
[SDF Gopher Tutorial]
[Gopher Club Phlogs]
[Slugmax SDF Gopher Tutorial]
[Sample gophermap for Gophernicus]
[Szczeżuja's Gopher hole]
[Formatting Gemtext for Gopher]
szczezuja.space CC BY-SA
Sat 15 Jan 2022 04:16:04 PM CET
tags: #gopher, #howto