Down The Gopher Hole

Today, for some reason I remembered about gopher:// protocol. And was I surprised to find out that there are still gopher sites operating: gopher://

Gopher is a pre http:// protocol that was created at University of Minnesota an named after its mascot, Goldy Gopher.

Goldy is apparently not really a gopher:
““He’s actually a chipmunk,” said Sarah Compton, a student worker at the University’s Bell Museum of Natural History.

The museum has created a mock criminal lineup comparing five stuffed rodents alongside a stuffed Goldy Gopher.

Although this comparison makes Goldy’s mistaken identity seem obvious, other rodents have been mislabeled as gophers since before Minnesota became a state.”

Well, it could have been worse. If MIT or Caltech geeks created it, we would have had beaver:// protocol on our hands.

Browsing about a little I found this gem:

“Happily, most web browsers will still understand Gopher, but they are at best suboptimal. No major web browser understands Gopher+, for one thing.

Because of security bulletin MS02-047, Gopher support is NOW DISABLED IN INTERNET EXPLORER 6 and higher. Rather than fix the buffer overrun in the Gopher protocol handler, Microsoft, in typical fashion, simply decided to disable it entirely. Instead of spending another paragraph or two on a droll rant about how high up their rear ends the heads of Microsoft technical designers are, we’ll just talk dispassionately about the impact of this security flaw: while the risk of an exploit is low in our very friendly community, it is not impossible, and the flaw is apparently damaging enough to be graded Critical. Nevertheless, if you want to reenable it, download the registry file from the clients directory here at Floodgap, or go into RegEdit, drill down to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings, and enter a key named EnableGopher
with type DWord and value 00000001. The reg file is available from gopher://

Rooting around I found some protocols that I haven’t even heard of, like “Hyper-G“. Man, why do I like to dig up this obscure stuff?