Come join us in Geminispace

What is Gemini?

Gemini is a new document transfer protocol. But you wouldn't guess it. It builds on old foundations.

Let me summerize the protocol for you. A client connects to a server over TLS, and sends one line: a URI. The server sends a status code, a space, and an mime type. Then the server sends the requested document.

This is Gemini. That's it.

Gemini is a rejection of extendability. It is a rejection of the need for constant growth and an embrace of doing-it-right the first time. The Gemini specification is not only feature-complete, but is designed to make adding features difficult. It is designed for "non-extensibility."

Why not the web?

The web today is critized for a lot of things: intrusive tracking, features that should be native apps, long page-load times. Those critics miss that the web today is designed as an app-distribution platform. As soon as Netscape supported Javascript, the web was being used to transfer Turing-complete programs, and browsers were turned into interpreters of those programs.

I don't mind that. The web is good at distributing apps. But this means that the web can't be good at distributing documents.

A plain HTML document, opened in a normal browser, is user-hostile by modern design standards. It has no padding, a serif font, and is always black on white, with other issues besides. There are features in even the HTTP specification that are designed for web apps, but you have to worry about them to make a blog. It doesn't have to be this way.

The beauty of Gemtext

The Gemini specification document also describes text/gemini, or Gemtext. Gemtext is a markup language that exercises minimalism. In addition to plain text, it has links, code blocks, headings, lists, and quote blocks. All of these elements must appear at the start of a line. You can parse Gemtext by reading the first 3 characters of each line.

This means that formatting has to be done by the client, but it means that formatting can be done by the client! If opened in a Gemini client, this document has generous padding, a beautiful font, and a dark theme, without me having to do any formatting myself.

Geminispace is alive!

There are 1,300 domains actively serving Gemini content. There are bread baking recipies, D&D campaign analysis, and a mirror of Wikipedia. There are hundreds of blogs, and most Gemini clients support something like RSS for checking them.

If you think the internet is too small, and want to make it bigger, go ahead. But if you think the internet is too big, and want to join us in Geminispace, please do.

Gemini Quickstart Guide
Gemini Specification