[tech] [spec] On extending gemini

Drew DeVault sir at cmpwn.com
Mon Feb 22 15:42:21 GMT 2021

I really don't like this mailing list, because Gemini is lightning in a
bottle and this list is constantly trying to open the bottle. But alas,
here we are again.

I'm sorry for putting the stick on the table upfront; in hindsight it
was rude. I always prefer friendly negotiation first. However: Gemini is
constantly at a dire risk of being extended upon, a pattern which will
ultimately drive it to suffer the fate of the very problems of the web
which motivated its creation in the first place. I like Gemini, and if
we want Gemini to continue being likable, then it cannot grow in this

This is not the first time we've dealt with this problem. This mailing
list is a constant stream of pleas for spec additions. Inline styles,
inline images, tables, forms and POST equivalents, the list goes on and
on and on. This mailing list is obsessed with reinventing the web, and
that's NOT what Gemini is for. Solderpunk has been quite clear on this.

The only means we have of regulating this behavior is by making a
statement with our client and server implementations. This is not the
first such statement I've made. First I stated that I would require SNI:


This was added to the spec shortly thereafter.

I also made a statement regarding robots.txt:


In this case: surprise, portals are just user agents, and blocking them
is blocking users. Dick move.

Most recently, favicons. Contrary to Sean's nasty comments, I am only
making statements on behalf of *my* software, not Gemini as a whole, and
I have every right to. You have every right to make statements on behalf
of your software, too. Clients like Amfora have already done so by
implementing favicons. Mine is a statement of opposition, and we will
ultimately have to come to some kind of consensus. This is how protocol
ecosystems work.

Mozz, your extensions are irresponsible. You view this medium as a
changing, evolving platform, and accept the consequences as it is
fleeting and ultimately doomed to ruin.

Fuck that.

We have a good thing here, and deliberately and recklessly fattening it
is going to screw it up for everyone. Take some responsibility for your
role in making this platform thrive for as long as it can. This
historical revisionism about how Gemini is a platform for Gophers to
feed their creativity into expanding upon Gopher's limitations is
ridiculous.  The purpose of Gemini has always been crystal clear. The
spec has received only minor clarifications and has always come with the
following promises:

- Any changes will not require drastic changes in implementations
- It will be frozen once time has proven it correct

Solderpunk reaffirmed this on the new year.

What you're advocating for is not what Gemini is supposed to be. If you
want that, then fine, go make it in another protocol. Stop trying to
open our lightining bottle. Please.

Finally, to clarify the role of srht.site: I did not intend to issue an
unstated threat of leveraging srht.site's influence to strong-arm Amfora
in this respect. There is not a case of "deliberate timing" here. My
statement regarding the possibility of black holeing was only with
respect to gmnisrv, which is a minority player in the field of Gemini
servers. I don't intend to shove this view onto all users of srht.site -
that's well beyond the scope of appropriate influence. I understand why
this was not clear, and I'm sorry for the confusion.

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