Angelo
I am Angelo. A systems engineer passionate about Linux and all open-source software. Although here I'm just another member of the family.

Introducing to the Gemini protocol

Hello, friends. Thank you for reading our posts on this blog. Today I’ll tell you a bit about the Gemini protocol which aims to be an alternative to HTTP for a more secure, lightweight, and text-focused web.

Introducing to the Gemini protocol

Gemini is an alternative protocol to HTTP and Gopher that aims to sell itself not as a replacement for HTTP and Gopher but more as a demonstration of what the web was meant to be.

For the creators of Gemini, the current web is insecure, slow, cumbersome, invasive, overloaded with advertising, and above all lacking in privacy. Therefore, they want to revindicate the web as it was meant to be instead of the current one.

For this protocol, a rather peculiar name has been chosen as it bears the same name as the NASA project of the 1960s. In general, Gemini pages come with a special document format, commonly called “gemtext”, which allows linking to other documents.

Who is or are behind the project?

In short, this protocol was created by a single person, under the pseudonym Solderpunk. However, due to this person’s commitments, he has had to delegate responsibilities to others. This leads us to the conclusion that the development follows the collaborative model.

You can find an example of this on the FAQ page of the project:

“In February 2021, long time Gemini contributor Sean Conner was granted some decision making authority to help finalize the Gemini specification during a time when Solderpunk was unable to dedicate the necessary time and energy to the project. “

So we can be sure that the project, thanks to the community, will live on.

Why the Gemini protocol?

One of the keys to understanding what Gemini is all about is knowing that text is more essential than images. So, for the transmission of information, the text has to be in GemText format. This is a simplified version of Markdown. That is, we won’t use HTML for anything at all.

Thanks to the emphasis on text, websites are freed from unnecessary scripts, especially those executed on the client-side. Also, reducing the weight of multimedia results in a better performance of the site on older devices.

In other words, thanks to Gemini, websites are created without cookies, without tracking, without JavaScript code, without distractions, without images, only text, bringing back the pleasure of reading what we want to read without further artifice.

But how can Gemini make a website lighter? and there are no images at all? Gemini does not allow to insert and load by default such content in the pages, but we will be able to visualize them in the browser if we explicitly indicate it. So it makes browsing much more agile.

On the other hand, the protocol has as one of its most important goals privacy and keeping everything as simple as possible by using robust technologies such as MIME or TLS.

How can I use the Gemini protocol?

As it is a different protocol to HTTP, you need a different browser than the traditional ones, although, in the case of Firefox, you can install the Geminize extension. If you want something more native, then you have to install dedicated Gemini browsers.

In the case of Linux, we have options like Castor and Lagrange. Although we can use other options from the terminal like Amfora or Asuka.

You can then access the websites using the formula gemini://site-address.

This way, you can then visit and use the Gemini protocol.

Conclusion

Technology is very changeable and always offers us many alternatives that we can use and explore according to our needs. Throughout this post, we have given you a brief introduction to what this protocol is.

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