Freedombone Blog

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Launching on Gemini

A server app for the Gemini protocol has now been added to Freedombone. Gemini is a simple internet protocol similar to Gopher but with transport security and a markdown-like style. You can think of it as a "what if Gopher had been invented in 2020, knowing what we know now" kind of thing.

Not long after I first started running a server in 2010 I had a Gopher server running with a small amount of content on it. Gopher is so lightweight that a server for it will run on very minimal hardware. But after the Snowden leaks of 2013 I thought that the days of unencrypted communications were at an end, because without transport encryption a message can be altered in transit or have dubious scripts or links inserted into it, and there was clear evidence of that this was not merely a theoretical problem.

But with the addition of transport security, using a Trust on First Use (TOFU) principle rather than certificate authorities, Gemini makes running a Gopher-like protocol into a more attractive proposition. Being very minimal means that the attack surface is tiny, and it would be difficult to implement tracking or advertising in this protocol. At most your advert would consist only of plain text or maybe some blocky ansi art similar to an old-skool bulletin board.

In the era of Google, being hacker friendly (in terms of implementation simplicity) but hostile to advertising could be an important point of leverage.

In future I'll investigate whether Gemini can be more integrated with some of the other Freedombone apps. RSS is an obvious possibility. Editing of Gemini pages via NextCloud could be done. Also conversion of Bludit markdown blog entries into Gemini could be automated.

Tags: freedombone, gemini