I got myself a gemini. Gemini is a protocol for serving hypertext, with emphasis on the 'text': it's more like Gopher than the web, with an emphasis on simplicity and privacy, and no inline links or images.

Although I'm certainly old enough, I didn't have much experience of the pre-web internet, but the retro nature of Gemini is one of the reasons it appeals to me. A lot of writeups about it turn into denunciations of the modern web, but this one won't. I have been hearing techies yell about the web since 1996, saying things like "it's just gopher with shiny things".

The anti-Javascript stuff was deterring me from playing with Gemini for a while, and part of me just wants to tell people to simmer down and build static websites if they want a smaller, leaner internet. But the compulsion to tinker with something new got hold of me.

The idea that there's a lower bar to entry for setting up a gemini site seems a bit starry-eyed: it's not really any easier than setting up a web server. And a lot of things about it seem like gatekeeping - I read this article about gemini and sadness in January and agreed with it. I particularly like that the author is alive to the melancholy nature of this exercise, of putting together a sort of parallel internet even though we know it's not going to replace the web.

I don't know what I'll do with mine - I don't think I'm going to blog there but I like the idea of building out a little archive of my bot outputs and other experiments with text generation and online art. For now, tinkering with it is fun. And part of why it appeals to me is not exactly knowing what it's for.

I also like that it seems to be bringing together old-timers like myself, who have fond memories of hand-coding their first home pages, and folks who are much younger and are discovering the small internet for the first time. There's something melancholy about this, too, but also something hopeful.