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[gopher] Re: Students using Gopher

I teach on a HND which is a vocational sub-degree course at Doncaster 
College in England. In the first semester I teach Hardware and Operating 
Systems and the second semester Networking. The Networking module covers 
TCP/IP and places great emphasis on setting up Client / Server networks. 
Previously I got the students to setup web and ftp servers. Two years ago I 
was faced with a group who reckoned they knew everything about web servers 
so I challenged them to set up a gopher server.

They decided to use GN GOPHER.  This comes as part of Redhat Linux 4.2 and 
installs a gopher server straight out of the box serving pages from the 
/home/gopher directory. The mappings are made in a .cache file. The gn 
mkcache command turns a plain text file called menu into a series of tab 
separated selector strings that can be accessed by clients. GN gopher uses 
inetd and it is helpful to modify the inetd.conf file to allow gopher to 
create a log file so those early teething problems can be quickly sorted 
out. The group used Firefox 1.5 and IE explorer version 3 as clients. I 
found this to be a good challenge showing them that there are ports other 
than 80 and also the work gave them experience of tcp streams and inetd.

The following year's group decided to use Bucktooth 0.2 for their gopher 
server on a Redhat Linux 7.2 Server. This package can be downloaded from the 
floodgap. Bucktooth 0.2 is designed to run from xinetd. The install is 
managed by a Perl script file. Gopher pages are served from a directory 
/usr/local/gopher. Bucktooth does not need a mapping file it will offer the 
entire contents of the directory to a gopher client. But for that more 
authentic gopher experience you can making mappings via a file called 
gophermap it contains the usual tab separated selectors. Also it is possible 
to embed text and ascii art in the gophermap file to improve the 
presentation of gopher pages. This group of students were more adventurous 
in the search for gopher clients and found WGOPHER, HGOPHER, LYNX_W32, and 
even an old version of Netscape Navigator.

I don't try to inculcate strict gopher design guidelines I give them an 
example and let them do their own thing in some ways I am more interested in 
the journey than the destination. Most of the pages they put on the gopher 
server are Type=h Path=h/usr/local/gopher/mywebsite. Serving graphics for 
these pages can be a challenge and the easiest option is to put these files 
in the public ftp folder and reference them from the web page.

This year I am considering getting the students to setup a Windows NT server 
and use IIS version 4 to serve gopher pages. However I am beginning to 
realize that retro computing projects with Microsoft software can be 
difficult and I am beginning to understand the lengths Microsoft have gone 
to, to kill off Windows NT.

I have found that using gopher can provide new and challenging projects for 

Any views or suggestion would be welcome.


Mike Bird

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "JumpJet Mailbox" <jumpjetinfo@yahoo.com>
To: <gopher@complete.org>
Sent: Thursday, February 01, 2007 3:34 PM
Subject: [gopher] Students using Gopher

> Can you give us details?
>  What Server Software are you using, and why did you choose it?  Did you 
> begin with the computer hardware or operating system, or did you first 
> decide on the Server software?  Did you experiment with more than one 
> Server software option before finalizing on your choice?  What kind of 
> "Type Mapping" is the Server using:
>  gopher://home.jumpjet.info/00\Begin_Here\References\Link_File_Basics.txt
>  When selecting you Server software were you aware of the Server/Client 
> software download Gopher site:
>  gopher://home.jumpjet.info/11\Begin_Here
>  Do you place standards on the Servers "look and feel":
> gopher://home.jumpjet.info/00\Begin_Here\References\Standard_Informational_Files.txt
> gopher://home.jumpjet.info/00\Begin_Here\References\Formatting_with_ASCII.txt
>  What sort of Client software is being used?  Are your students mostly 
> using a dedicated Gopher Client, or are they just using a Web Browser? 
> Why did they choose the Client?
>  JumpJet is EXTREMELY interested in gathering reviews from anyone on 
> various Gopher Servers and Clients; such as how well they work or don't 
> work, what features are good or bad, any special considerations for setup, 
> etc.  Please send feedback to:
>  jumpjetinfo@yahoo.com

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