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Gemini

Written February 7, 2021

Gemini is a smaller and kinder way of sharing documents over the internet.

Project Gemini

Simplicity

By removing features, a protocol can create an expanse of possibilities. A trivial gemini client could be implemented over a weekend, opening the space for experimentation and play. Meanwhile, maintaining a modern browser is an effort so massive that only a handful of organizations can afford it.

Building a static site generator that targets both gemtext and html documents as its output has revealed a lot of the complexity in even the parts of the web I thought of as simple.

Site Generator, the tool that produced this page you're reading.

The format I compose pages in is barely distinct from the final gemtext output, while in html a number of hoops must be jumped through to produce paragraphs and escape text. Furthermore, I've spent hours tinkering with my http site's stylesheets and blissfully don't even have the option on gemini.

Browser

Gemini is an internet document protocol, like http for the web, with an emphasis on simplicity, ease, and privacy. To view gemini links, you'll need a gemini-compatible browser like Lagrange installed.

Lagrange, a user-friendly gemini client

I use lagrange for gemini browsing because I like variable-width fonts and smooth-scrolling too much, but there are many simpler and charming terminal-based browsers available as well.

Server

I use the Unsinkable Molly Brown as my gemini server. Configuration took a little bit of time but I found the documentation well-written and took it as a good excuse to read the systemd man pages.

The Unsinkable Molly Brown, a gemini server