alternate mosaic entry to iubio archive

David Steffen steffen at mbcr.bcm.tmc.edu
Fri Apr 22 12:59:28 EST 1994

In article <Coo4DE.n0q at usenet.ucs.indiana.edu>
    gilbertd at sunflower.bio.indiana.edu (Don Gilbert) writes:
>If you have a view on gopher+ versus mosaic/http/html/www for use
>in biosciences information services, please feel free to comment here
>Some of point which I see make gopher preferable to mosaic are these:
>gopher is a single protocol,  www is an amalgam of all the internet
>mosaic/www rely on images and rich text heavily, which imposes much
>more demand on network and client computer resources.  Gopher can
>work well over slow telephone lines and on simpler computers.
>hypertext is not as important a way of organizing information as the
>simpler table-of-contents and index format that gopher uses.  Though
>I agree there are cases where hypertext is useful, there are more cases
>where it is more confusing than is a more organized table-of-contents
>style of information.

I strong agree with Don Gilbert about this.  I have been dismayed
overall to see what looks like the replacement of gopher with WWW.
The WWW folks tell me that part of the reason for this is that WWW
does gopher, thus gopher is not going away, but merely being included
in a larger standard.  To the extent that is true, it would be similar
to what seems to have happened with WAIS, and I guess I wouldn't object.
The reason I see this as not being true is that many of the new
information servers I would like to access are WWW servers not
searchable by gopher, thus, you must use a WWW client to access them.

The problems I see with a move of the biomedical research community
from gopher to WWW are as follows:

1) At present, virtually all my searching is done over telephone lines
to a host that does not offer SLIP, thus I can use gopher but the only
WWW client I can use is lynx, which is text only.

2) I have not tried using the Mac version of Mosaic, but I am told by
my colleagues who have that it's performace on a Mac is disappointing
due to hardware limitations.

3) The most recent WWW host I would have liked to use said explicitly
that it was only compatable with clients that supported "forms", which
they noted does not include the Mac client, and which I suspect does
not include lynx.

The standard response I hear from the computer cogniscenti on the
above complaints is "dump the Mac, get an Xterminal, get your host to
support SLIP, or better yet, install an ISDN connection to your home,
or better yet, install a T3 connection to your home."  This is most
frustrating to me not only because I cannot justify doing what they
suggest, but more importantly, because I have devoted a lot of energy
to getting the less computer-forgiving colleagues of mine to use
gopher, with enormous success.  If I hit them with the above
arguments, they would not be amused.

The only way I could feel at all comfortable about a move from gopher
to WWW is if we all agreed to make our hosts lynx-compatible by
limiting their features.  I don't know enough about lynx to know if
this would be a good tradeoff (gopher -> lynx), but at least it would
David Steffen, Ph.D., C/Si Consulting.
Adjunct Professor, Department of Cell Biology, Baylor College of Medicine.
6626 Westchester, Houston, Texas 77005
Telephone = (713) 668-3453.  Internet = steffen at bcm.tmc.edu

More information about the Bio-soft mailing list

Send comments to us at biosci-help [At] net.bio.net