This document shall assist you in quickly testing and evaluating gc to decide if it is worth to invest some more.
Make sure to pick the tar archive and untar it somewhere. This creates
a sub directory of the form
gc-1.0.6 (or whatever the current version
is) to allow easy removal by just deleting this. Open a (Linux)
terminal in that directory.
gc is a command line Gopher client so that's the first thing to go:
starts the client opening the Gopher server at quux.org. You open
an item by entering its number in the directory when you are at the
dir > prompt. Long directories are displayed using less and you
must leave that first by pressing
To leave gc press
Ctrl+C at the command prompt or enter
quux.org is not up-to-date (there are no so much up-to-date Gopher servers these days) but its well-known, which is why I mention it here. Another well-known server is gopher.floodgap.com but this server make its logfile (more precise: its tail) public showing also user's IP-numbers. Therefore, I try to avoid that server as much as possible, but this server runs also a Gopher search.
When you have read a text (Gopher servers have usually plain-text
files) and you want to list the directory again you can do that with
: commands (the former reload the directory from the
gc comes with a context navigator (aka pnx navigator) that is shown when you have finished read a file. It changes its display according to the item's context and may look like
pnx: FPNL ---:- #+-- ? >
You can enter any of the listed characters (
? shows a brief help)
but you can also enter regular gc commands here. Enter
gc can also fetch files from HTTP or HTTPS server (HTTPS requires socat to be installed) and can display simple HTML files.
Either restart gc with
or enter the URL
http://www.quietsche-entchen.de/ as command.
Moving around is just as before: read the text, leave the pager
q and enter the link you want to follow.
back brings you
to the previous page. HTTP/HTML doesn't have something like
directories but gc supports marking HTML files as equivalents
if they are tagged accordingly. The pnx navigator shows an
H if a
such a "home page" is known for an HTML file.
pnx: F--L H--:- #--R ? >
: lists the last gopher directory, not an HTML file.
There are some more plans for gc's internal HTML parser but e.g. TABLEs are not on the short list. An example of what is missing is that an HTML file's title is not properly displayed in gc.
I think that interoperatibility is important. Therefore, I added HTTP as an alternative to fetch gopher directories from a server. (Try to get a Gopher server - HTTP servers are around but now Gopher. Then what if you like Gopher's directory structure?)
Start gc with
or enter the URL on gc's command line. This fetches a Gopher directory from the server and you're back in the directory-document user interface. My server uses basic Markdown for text files and gc knows to format and display them. Even without that, Markdown would be readable, which is why I prefer it. The files come also with embedded links but truth is that Gopher is not very well prepared for documents linking to others and not everything might work.
The original Gopher protocol got an update known as Gopher+. This
is widely abandoned these days but gc (and the quietsche-entchen
server) supports it to extract navigation information from Gopher+
directories. You can access an item's Gopher+ data when the
pnx-navigator shows the
pnx: F--L H--:- #+-R ? >
A usual, enter the number to open an item. You can use
again to test it. For further reading take a look at