Gemini privacy

Bradley D. Thornton Bradley at NorthTech.US
Thu Mar 11 08:22:07 GMT 2021

On 3/10/2021 2:53 AM, Nathan Galt wrote:
> On Wed, Mar 10, 2021, at 1:51 AM, Bradley D. Thornton wrote: 

>> ...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)
> If you want to transfer files over an uncommon protocol that most people can't use, have you considered (S)FTP? Chrome dropped FTP support in version 88 and version 89 is the current version.

FTP is ubiquitous. What would be the point? And why would you suggest
SFTP, when the standard is anonymous FTP?

Some of those resources:
( - most links point to ftp://)

For webhosting customers, I require that they use SSH - SCP, SFTP - but
but those SSH methods are intended for the manipulation of files, while
anyone can browse and download from anonymous FTP or Gopher (or Gemini)

Although it is *theoretically possible* to enable anonymous SFTP, how
would you do it without incorporating PAM or letting someone who has
never visited before to leave the password field blank? In anonymous FTP
the password field by historical convention is your email address, or
some/any email address, like... billg at, although browsers
do it a bit differently.

Now, you can surely enable FTPS, but then we're back to that whole
garbage situation about whether this is explicit or implicit, and in
deciding between these two control ports, are we going to be using TCP
21 (explicit) or 990 (implicit), and data on 989, in a range between
3000-3050, or port 20 (implicit & active)???

I even confuse myself when I try to remember how to firewall the
clusterbucket that are the FTPS'es.

Good ole anonymous FTP is well known (You say uncommon) and 20/21 work
just fine.

The only problems I've had with FTP during the past 40 years were due to
acoustic couplers or shitty phone lines.

Gopher satisfies this easily with a single connection over port 70.

And Gemini does the same thing w/TLS over port 1965. That sounds like a
winner to me.

I probably should [not] mention that it appears as if gophers:// may be
doing the same over port 70 as well in many cases, in the not too
distant future, but I might get flamed for even bringing that up at this
time. Since I have taken it upon myself to mention that, port 70 is
already registered and I personally like the idea of using that
particular port for both gopher:// and gophers://.

You're welcome anytime to access Vger through SSH or Telnet though. I
actually do support that too.

> (Personally, I'm amused by how FTP has become _indie_ in the span of a year or two. NNTP and Gopher threw a great welcoming party.)

Nathan, pardon me, but I'm getting the sense that you're seeing things
through the lens of a world where everything should occur within the
confines of Faceplant and InstaSpam running inside of a JSRE (JavaScript
Runtime Environment) - which is exactly what you've pointed out that
Chrome versions >= v88 have now effectively become... Which is also one
of the big reasons that Project Gemini was spawned.

As far as NNTP and Gopher are concerned, both Usenet and Gopher are
alive and well, and enjoying a significantly relevant level of usage and
traffic. For that matter, so is FidoNet - I'm still running the same
node number I've had for the past 30 years (1:102/127).

With the exception of the Google JSRE, SFTP, Gemini, and Good ole
anonymous FTP, everything else mentioned is indeed *retro*, although
that doesn't make those facilities non-relevant or insignificant, and
they're actually thriving more now than any of them were ten years ago.
> Also: why would you want to burden Gemini-client implementers with having to handle transfer encodings when you can just gzip (or .xz, or whatever the new hotness is) for small numbers of largish files? 

It works fine now, and just like there will be a substantially greater
presence of Gopher over TLS in the future, people who develop Gemini
server and client software will innovate as well (there's been an awful
lot of that in the past six months alone). Such innovations are
inevitable - changing the spec is not even relevant in that regard, nor
is it necessary.

Please do note however, that in each of those FTP archives I posted
links to above .iso images are *not*, as you encourage, tarballed. Nor
are many of the other resources.

Another nice thing about Gemini, Gopher, and FTP, is that in many
clients you can actually view of the file types you're browsing right
inside the client. I understand Google affected some changes to that in
their JSRE prior to dropping support for FTP, necessarily forcing an
external application load? Doesn't matter, moot point now anyway lolz.

If you go back and reread what I wrote in my previous post, I'm not
asking anyone to write or develop anything - I was simply musing. Like I
just said, this sort of file transfer of repo data over Gemini works
fine right now as it is.

On another note, I am *still* encouraging the authors of Gemini client
software to work towards a consensus for the handling of preformatted
text blocks that people who are blind might consider to be *noise* -
that's kinda a big deal to me, and Devin posted again just today on that
important topic.

Final thought: I haven't used Chrome at all in many years. Mostly
Firefox, or Chromium, and surfing FTP repos continues to work just fine
in Vivaldi too.

I hope that helps :)

Kindest regards,

Bradley D. Thornton
Manager Network Services
TEL: +1.310.421.8268

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