BioBit No22 (Go for it with Gopher)

Rob Harper Rob.Harper at CONVEX.CSC.FI
Thu Feb 13 12:48:32 EST 1992

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                                 No 22
                        BIO-NAUT NEWSLETTER 12-2-92
                       << EDITED BY ROBERT HARPER >>



   In this edition of BioBit I will take a look a gopher, and will
   give some examples of its use, using a gopher in Sweden. First of
   all the name gopher has already caused some confusion. When the
   newsgroup alt.gopher opened up quite a few people thought it was
   alt.golfer and were all set to swap stories about golf clubs and
   sand traps

   Anyway if one of the best terminal emulations in the world is
   called KERMIT then perhaps GOPHER will become equally well known.
   I have no idea why the software should be given this name...could
   it be the mascot of the University of Minnesota... is it a play on
   words GOPHER=GO FOR.

   Basically that is what gopher does, it allows you to go to
   different places on the network and get information. In the
   examples below I will show how you can use gopher to run an archie
   session, look at WWW, even peek into the CONVEX computer here at
   the Finnish State Computer Centre to see how we have used gopher to
   help users find out what is on the system. But first things first.
The Internet Gopher is a distributed document delivery service.
It allows a neophyte user to access various types of data
residing on multiple hosts in a seamless fashion.  This is
accomplished by presenting the user a hierarchical arrangement
of documents and by using a client-server communications model.
In addition to browsing through hierarchies of documents, gopher
users can submit queries to gopher search servers. The search
servers typically have full-text indexes for a set of gopher
documents; the response to a query is a list of documents that
matched the search criteria.

Internet Gopher servers accept simple queries (sent over a TCP 
connection), and respond by sending the client a document or a 
list of documents. Since this is a distributed protocol there can
be many servers... but the client software hides this fact from 
the user. We currently use this technology at the Center for
Scientific Computing here in Finland to support users on our CONVEX 


Interested folks can try out the curses based UNIX client by opening
a telnet session to consultant.micro.umn.edu []. 
Login as gopher with no password.


All the gopher client and server software is available for anonymous ftp
from boombox.micro.umn.edu []; look in /pub/gopher.
Currently there are gopher clients for Mac, PC and Unix (curses-based)
available from the University of Minnesota. 

Version 1.1 of the PC Gopher client can be obtained by anonymous FTP from 
boombox.micro.umn.edu in the directory pub/gopher/PC_client/version_1.20
The PC Gopher client runs on most networked PCs, but requires that 
you have loaded the appropriate Clarkson packet driver for your network 
ethernet card. The PC gopher software has a TurboVision user interface
so both keyboard and mouse are supported... and you don't need to run
MS Windows.       

The University of St. Thomas wrote a NeXT gopher client available for 
anonymous ftp from cs.stthomas.edu (
directory gopher, file Gopher_1.0b.tar.Z (51605 bytes).
Summary of Internet Gopher Software.

Macintosh Gopher client written in HyperCard.
Macintosh Gopher Server software.
PC Gopher Client with a Borland Turbo Vision Interface.
Full Text Indexing servers for NeXT machines.
NeXT Gopher client (provided by Max Tardiveau of the University of St.

Questions, problems, feedback or bug reports may be directed to the
development team at  gopher at boombox.micro.umn.edu. 


There is a mailing list "gopher-news" where bug fixes are announced or new
versions of gopher software. If you would like to subscribe to gopher-news,
please send e-mail to gopher-news-request at boombox.micro.umn.edu.

OK Now for an example session with a gopher system set up in Sweden
To access the system you give the following command. "telnet gopher.sunet.se"
and login as gopher

sun4 /mnt/home/csc/harper 8> telnet gopher.sunet.se
Connected to sunic.sunet.se.
Escape character is '^]'.
SunOS UNIX (sunic)
login: gopher

         Internet Gopher v0.5 Copyright 1991 Univ. of Minnesota

                                 Root Directory

          1.  Info about this Gopher Server.
          2.  Nordic Information Services/
          3.  CCITT Blue Book/
          4.  Requests for Comments (RFC)/
          5.  PD Software FTP Archive/
          6.  Internet Libraries/
    -->   7.  World Wide Web/
          8.  Other Gopher and Information Servers/

These examples have been done with the Unix curses-based software. The MAC
hypercard stack is a point and click nice visual interface, but since we have
to limit ourselves to plain ascii on Usenet then the Unix curses-based style
gives the clearest presentation. So you can move with the cursor keys and 
choose option 7 so you can have a look at WWW down at CERN in Switzerland. 
You will notice that once you have selected that option there is a 
symbol <TEL> directly after it. This means you are about to open up a 
telnet session to WWW.

          Internet Gopher v0.5 Copyright 1991 Univ. of Minnesota

                                 World Wide Web

   -->    1.  World Wide Web (at CERN) <TEL>

               Warning!!!!!, you are about to leave the Internet
                  Gopher program and connect to another host.
             If you get stuck press the control key and the ] key,
                               and then type quit
                         Now connecting to info.cern.ch
                      Use the account name "www" to log in
                           Press return to connect:

After pressing return you get into WWW. WWW is hypertext based software
and that lots of numbers are sprinkled thoughout the text. If you choose
a number then you are automatically linked to the documents that are hidden
behind it. If we chose option 7 then we get into a list of all public CERN
news groups.

CERN Information

   CERN is the European Particle Physics Labpratory in Geneva, Switzerland.
   Select by number information here, or elsewhere (Return for more).

  Help[1]                On this program, or the World-Wide Web project[2].
  Phone book[3]          People, phone numbers, accounts and email addresses.
                         See also the analytical Yellow Pages[4], or the same
                         index in French: Pages Jaunes[5].
  CC Documentation[6]    Index of computer centre documentation, newsletters,
                         news, help files, etc...
  News[7]                A complete list of all public CERN news groups, such
                         as news from the CERN User's Office[8], CERN computer
                         center news[9], student news[10]. See also  Private
                         groups[11] and Internet news[12].

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