- Oct 3, 2007
Does anyone remember Gopher
Back in the early 1990s, before there was a World Wide Web, there was the Internet Gopher. It was a distributed information system in the same sense as the web, but didnt use hypertext and was text-based. Gopher was popular back then, as it made it easy to hop from one server to the next in a way that FTP didnt.
Gopher has hung on over the years, and is still clinging to life in a way. Back in 2007, I was disturbed at the number of old famous Gopher servers that had disappeared off the Internet without a trace. Some of these used to be known by most users of the Internet in the early 90s. To my knowledge, no archive of this data existed. Nobody like archive.org had ever attempted to save Gopherspace.
So I decided I would. I wrote Gopherbot, a spidering archiver for Gopherspace. I ran it in June 2007, and saved off all the documents and sites it could find. That saved 40GB of data, or about 780,000 documents. Since that time, more servers have died. To my knowledge, this is the only comprehensive archive there is of what Gopherspace was like.