The Sorry State of Public Access Unix
My beloved sdf.org seems to be on hard times. I have no idea what the funding picture is, but they are in the throes of an upgrade for which THEY are the single largest test site — NetBSD 8. It’s not pretty, and it’s pretty lonely.
I looked into some others, namely grex.org, which has not returned my mail or upgraded my initial toy membership to something useful, and arbornet.org, which will not even go past the first screen of new user account creation.
Public Access Unix is a good thing in and of itself. There is no better way to educate a generation of programmers, users, visitors, and decision-makers about how we got where we are today than to see it — to *make* it — work for themselves.
It wasn’t always like this, and many of the features and mal-features we currently take for granted, as part of the bedrock of computing, are just transients — passing fads. Online advertisements are still an interim solution to keep the lights on. Invasive scripts and massive data collection are not the cancer that will kill the internet, but an acne suffered during an awkward phase.
Sick of ads and intrusions? Want a new web 5.0 that just focuses on the content, and not the dancing baloney? Try this new *text-only* protocol called gopher:// TOTALLY not compatible with the WWW, it’s a free-fire zone! It’s a new frontier in the online experience, with support for live audio/video streaming and all that, but only when you want it!
Been around since 1992. Still there.
It would really amazing if Project Gutenberg or Wikipedia or more technical resources like the OEIS were on gopher. The real challenge for gopher is the accumulation of enough information to become attractive. I’d also imagine a more easy to use to gopherspace creator for phlogs and similar items would open it up to more people. It is already quite simple.