Launching into Gemini space
I've seen a few posts about the mysterious Gemini space, a lightweight, markdown-like section of the online multiverse using a protocol somewhere between the internet we all know and Gopher (which I'd not heard of either). There are https proxies to access it but where's the fun in that? Last night with the babe and The Canadian asleep, I gathered up my courage and set forth to explore!
I've blogged about my little Starlabs Kubuntu laptop before and this was my device of choice for entering Gemini space. I decided to try the Lagrange Gemini GUI client/browser, rather than a terminal-based interface as I don't spend much of my life in the terminal – although I have fond memories of using it for the Pine email client at university back in the '90s.
I did need the terminal to copy and paste the command lines needed to install the Flathub repository so that I could access it via Kubuntu's Discover software manager. I know the Linux community is split on Flatpak and Snap as a way of installing programmes, with some disliking their bloat as they package up all the dependencies along with the programme itself – but in this case, we're talking 20 MiB rather than 14 MiB for the tarball or 16 MiB for the AppImage. For a not-overly-techie user it really did simplify getting the software installed so I could move on to the main exercise of checking out Gemini space!
There's much to like about Gemini – I had a definite sense of nostalgia taking me back to my early days of exploring the web in '96-'99 when it was much much smaller and less overtly commercial, invasive and pervasive than it is today. The current sites both look and feel community driven, with the pleasingly named “Gemlogs” instead of blogs. I'm not sure what it's for exactly, other than to give people a new place to be creative away from the noisy internet – but that's probably the entire point!
I also like the Lagrange browser although I may try one or two others as well. It is a good mix of familiar and different, so accessing content is intuitive but with enough quirks to remind you that you have stepped into a parallel internet-verse. There are a few options to personalise it but not so many as to distract.
On my de-Googled smartphone, I trialled both the Amira and deedum Gemini browsers, which are available through F-droid and the /e/ Foundation's own App store (which I do like despite its occasional buginess!). I settled on Amira as I find the sans-serif text easier to read but that's definitely a personal choice as deedum seemed like it would do the job perfectly well too.
So what next? I think I'll keep exploring Gemini space for awhile longer before deciding whether to carve out my own space there, using one of the hosted options (or “capsules” in Gem-speak?) rather than sinking time into working out how to host my own (beyond my current tech knowledge!). Maybe even create a profile to hangout in the Midnight Pub.
Whatever I do it is strangely comforting to know that, like with Write.as, this community exists and is piloting its own path just a little out-of-step with the mainstream world.
Entry 60 of my participation in the “100 Days to Offload” challenge – find out more and join in!