Floodgap HELP: What is Gopher?
updated 27 December 2000

  gopher  n.  1. Any of various short tailed, burrowing mammals of
  the family Geomyidae, of North America.  2. (Amer. colloq.)
  Native or inhabitant of Minnesota: the Gopher State.
  3. (Amer. colloq.) One who runs errands, does odd-jobs, fetches
  or delivers documents for office staff.  4. (computer tech.)
  Software following a simple protocol for tunneling through a TCP/IP

Welcome to Gopherspace!

With one click of your browser you've just taken several years back in
Internet time. Close your eyes and grip your terminal. Imagine there's
no Websites (it's easy if you try). Imagine that there's a Commodore 64
on your desk, or maybe a 386.

Now open them again.

You're in the year 1991, when University of Minnesota computer scientists,
fed up with the limitations of FTP for downloading files and the overhead
of having to log into computers for everything, decided to come up with
a friendlier method of accessing data over the then largely vacant and
much smaller Internet. The result was Gopher, a simple and easy to
understand menu system that allowed once hideously complicated systems
and services to be strung together for straightforward usage. And Gopher
Was Good.

In fact, Gopher was so good that for several years, Gopher sites sprang up
all over. You could get weather reports on Gopher, news, mailing lists,
even software.

Then Mosaic came out barely a year or so later and plunged the world into
darkness and all seemed lost under the choking strands of the World Wide
Web. And Gopherspace lay all but forgotten.

But Gopher's still out there. And what's more, you'll find it surprisingly
useful, even years after the Web became a household word. Why?

* It's easy to set up.
* It's easy to write content for and facilitates organization.
* It doesn't need much system power to run -- either from the server or
 from your computer. It can run on systems with little CPU power or memory.
* It supports many things that the Web does, even if it looks less attractive.
 You can still view images, search and download programs, and ...
* ... since Gopher has less data to transfer, it's frequently faster.

Save the Gopher! Explore Gopherspace with Veronica-2 and find out about
the hidden world the Gophers once dug. And think how different the world would
be if that darn Mosaic had never been written ... :-)

The Floodgap Systems master gopher contains many help files to assist you.
Look for them. You can read them just by clicking on them. But if you get lost,
send all your questions and requests to

       [email protected]