Gemini privacy

Bradley D. Thornton Bradley at NorthTech.US
Wed Mar 10 09:51:39 GMT 2021

On 3/9/2021 4:54 PM, Sean Conner wrote:
> It was thus said that the Great Phil Leblanc once stated:
>> On Tue, Mar 9, 2021 at 6:36 PM <nothien at> wrote:
>>> P.S: I've been thinking about all the issues we've come across with TLS,
>>> and I've been collecting ideas for a new transport security protocol.  I
>>> know ~spc's stance on crypto ("get it approved by the crypto community,
>>> make an implementation, then we'll talk"),

NaCl? ;)

>> I think Sean Conner's statement is rhetoric or tongue-in-cheek :-)
>> Whether one likes it or not, Gemini IS built upon TLS. Period. That
>> ship has sailed.  So I understand Sean (and others) want to limit
>> entropy in the mailing list
>   It's not completely rhetorical---it's to just shut up those what want
> others to do the work.  But I mean it---present a working proof-of-concept
> that has passed the crypto community and by all means, it'll be worth
> talking about then (mostly about hose easy it is to implement across a
> variety of languages).  Until then, it's TLS.
>   -spc (We've already had one "proof-of-concept" alternative crypto, but it
> 	was rejected by the person who did it for further study ... )

Yes we have. A little over a year ago. Ciprian Craciun wanted to, and
most  enthusiastically, proposed that we replace TLS with NaCl. He even
wrote a proof of concept to support and test it (above), which in the
long run wasn't really a viable solution, at least for Gemini protocol.

I've seen a lot of other folks come in proposing truly extensible
integrations, but extensible is usually antithetical to Project Gemini's

Now that Gemini is experiencing Logarithmic growth it seems that many
well meaning folks are dropping onto the list and proposing changes to
the specifications that have not only already been hashed out by both
consensus, but also practical trial and error feasibility studies in
actual practice.

NaCl didn't fly because it's a wonderful thing to build a better web
connection with, and if one actually considers those notions, it
translates into a very narrow deployment capability - even TLS has not
been without its issues in Gemini, Sean was fortunate due to his use of
the particular libtls, and for some things, even using his own
libraries, while Python presented some interesting problems that I'm not
sure all have been resolved. Other languages... the same. Some
implementations fare better than others, but still, one can actually
write a client or a server that provides basic Gemini protocol
compliance in a weekend or two that includes TLS (at least in IPv4).

It's not a lot to ask that someone implement rather than postulate what
is possible, can the suggestion actually yield services that adhere to
the basic premise upon which Gemini is prefaced?

If Orange is the new black, then Gemini is the new *show me* state. It's
a very simple concept, 'Is this a realy proposal? Where's the beef? Show
everyone the money, and that can be introduced along with a discussion
backed by demonstrated feasibility.

But before even that, we're talking about a very young project. It's
certainly not too much to ask, and yes it should be prominently posted
somewhere, to please review the archives because much of what is being
bantered back and forth lately are very much reruns of what those who
have already implemented production services have wrestled with.

Ciprian kinda just up and disappeared last spring following his NaCl
proposal. He even advocated for a versioning system for Gemini protocol
that included current stable, past stable, and I guess tomorrow's latest
and greatest extensible.... Wait! That would make Gemini like HTTP. It
was a valid excercise in building a prototype for a better web, and
that's just not Gemini. Sadly, I get the feeling that there are a lot of
folks that are chomping at the bit to contribute something in the realm
of protocol design here, but we're not buildng a better web through
Gemini - we never were.

Rohan was just mentioning to me the other day that he would still like
to see just two things canonized in Gemini. Accessibility support that
triggers what I have referred to as *noise* alerts -ASCII art (In fact,
I've already begun implementing an interim solution), and compression.
Me too. I want those things for users and clients, respectively.

The problem with compression however, is that it has been stated several
times that Gemini is intended (expected, rather) to deliver mostly small
files, but not so ubiquitously so in my case. i.e., I've been a SCO
partner for many many years and I'm one of the only places I know of on
the net where you can freely download ISOs of SCO 5 and 6, the kewlest
part about that, and one reason I don't want webproxies on my lawn, is
because I make those archives available exlusively via Gemini (Maybe
Gopher too, I'll have to check lolz). Point being, Vger gets a couple of
folks downloading old SCO .iso's every month, and it seems to go fine
without compression. Would compression be nice? - you betcha! but at
1Gbps it's not really that big of a deal - at least for now.

At this juncture the spec is being finalized, the time for wonderful
ideas as to how to handshake and secure connections has pretty much
passed, and judging by the evidence (check GUS or LUPA, Geddit, Manisha,, Sloam and gmisub just to name a few), Gemini is off to a
great start and Solderpunk has, as recently as a week ago, acknowldeged
that his child has now gone off to college as a young adult.

By the way, neither of those two things (Accessibility or gzip
compression) have anything to do with, nor have any place in
discussions, for spec changes.

One thing I would really suggest here for folks climbing on board the
Gemini train with new ideas - use Gemini first. We have a LOT of
resources, including several archives of this mailing list which you can
search through. Much of what people suggest lately are more often than
not already hashed out in the archives, which are easily searchable from
within Gemini space.

Well, just my thoughts on the matter. If you build it (and it works)
they will come, or you can talk about it, but that won't *make it so*
Commander Data ;)

I hope that helps :)

Kindest regards,

Bradley D. Thornton
Manager Network Services
TEL: +1.310.421.8268

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