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Any Gemini users care to share their experiences / what you like about it?

I want to like it, but can’t shake the feeling that just generating basic html using *almost anything* would be more accessible and expressive.

I’ve only recently discovered it. I could be totally off base

@sunbather i like about it the constrains of the gemtext format, the diversity in clients and servers, the fact that presentation is left to the viewer, and the slow/smol community that actively uses it :)

@sunbather this post by @kensanata is a really beautiful perspective on the uniqueness of Gemini. gemini://low-key.me/gemlog/lis

and to quote @solderpunk "It's like riding a bike through a park instead of driving a main battle tank through a minefield while trying to stick to a very narrow and poorly marked safe corridor. "

We use it for a small wiki we keep and find the lack of overstimulating material and background predation a welcome environment for undisturbed creativity.

@tickfoot @kensanata @solderpunk

Hey! Thanks for the perspective! I was actually hoping you and @winduptoy would chime in.

I guess that brings me to my biggest hesitation:

One has to have a special client to access content that exists as limited subset of a browser. I reckon most people would say “forget it” rather than downloading a separate program to access that link. I’m certainly guilty of that.

@tickfoot @kensanata @solderpunk @winduptoy

If the point is to share content and ideas, why expose it to such a limitation?

@kensanata @winduptoy @tickfoot @solderpunk

Wouldn’t the analogy be more akin to Gemini narrowing the road so that *only* a bicycle can pass rather than letting the user decide if they rather travel by bicycle or battle tank?

@sunbather @tickfoot

Good analogy, and true in a way.

It does decrease accessibility in the sense that operating systems do not have a default client installed and Gemini is not a household name like Chrome. Firefox used to support the Gopher protocol, but that's gone now.

It seems like you're onboard with the philosophical perspective; I can find more links like the one @tickfoot sent if you want more reading in that department.

@sunbather @tickfoot

Gemini vastly INCREASES accessibility from a technical standpoint: clients
will run on a vast number of aging computers and use less energy, among
other benefits. A modern, secure version of any major web browser will be a
sluggish beast just booting up, regardless of of HTML loaded (proof: I was helping my uncle with his i3 laptop from 2012 and opening Chrome was
painful, only a empty tab, fan spun faster).

@sunbather @tickfoot

A modern web browser more is
like a thousand aircraft carriers than a single tank in the analogy. You
can build a client and server in a weekend, and that's by design.

Fed up with Apple/Google/Microsoft/Mozilla? Too bad, no one has attempted
a new browser because it's so big no one has the manpower to do it.

@sunbather @tickfoot

It comes down to building the world you want to see it, rather than accepting it as it is, operating system defaults be damned. On one hand, if there's enough good content on Gemini, hopefully the world will begin to treat it with the respect and importance it deserves.

@sunbather @tickfoot

On the other hand, it is really nice to have our own little corner isolated from the people and companies creating ads, trackers, analytics, popups, clickbait, spam, dark UI patterns, heavy consumerism, TikTok, listicles, braindead and shallow content, comment sections, likes, upvotes, and algorithmic news feeds.

@sunbather @tickfoot

***above I meant to say: "You can build a Gemini client and server in a weekend, and that's by design."

@winduptoy @tickfoot

That makes a lot of sense. I did some more reading and installed a Gemini client (rather than proxying around). It's charming.

I cant say i'm entirely sold, but i'm glad it exists as it is today.

It's always impressive when people are able to turn a small piece of code (or template) into a community. Theres magic in that :)

@winduptoy @tickfoot

side note, my wife & I are big fans of your farming content. You two are awesome, but you already knew that

@sunbather @winduptoy Aw, thank you! We always hope folks enjoy it and find it useful, so it's nice to hear that you do. :)

@sunbather solderpunk has some things to say about it

>Based on stuff I've seen posted about Gemini around the web (sadly a lot of it negative! 😞), this question is perhaps the biggest gap in our FAQ. Many people are confused as to why it's worth creating a new protocol to address perceived problems with optional, non-essential features of the web. Just because websites *can* track users and run CPU-hogging Javascript and pull in useless multi-megabyte header images or even larger autoplaying videos, doesn't mean they *have* to. Why not just build non-evil websites using the existing technology, instead of building something new from the ground up?

=> gemini://gemini.circumlunar.space/users/solderpunk/gemlog/why-not-just-use-a-subset-of-http-and-html.gmi

i generally agree. in my personal experience, html is too complicated for non-tech people to want to deal with. i taught my partner gemtext in about five minutes and she uses it regularly to post recipes in her capsule. she would never learn html much less spend time authoring documents by hand. with gemtext, she's already doing it. no amount of stripping down web tech is going to reach this level of simplicity.

@sunbather I'm a gemini user and I like it because of the community largely. Also, with a basic HTML web you'd need to somehow pick a subset of HTML, which it'd be hard to get people to agree on and you'd have to somehow put limitations in place to stop it expanding (should you want things to stay minimal) while gemini can stay minimal without faffing with restricted HTML subsets that people won't agree on.

@sunbather I'm relatively decent at HTML design, but I still like #Gemini for a number of reasons.

The biggest is basically the same as haikus. Making something shine with restrictions. Not having fancy graphics, formatting, and the like means I focus more on content (as a writer, that's a good thing).

It's a challenge but also splits presentation verses content (something that I've been also focusing on for years since I write in Markdown now with tools to make it work otherwise).

@sunbather #Gemini is also relatively simple, technology wise. It uses SSL, but sues TOFU (trust on first use) instead of having centralized SSL certificate stores (why Let's Encrypt was a Big Deal was making SSL certificates free).

So, less code to maintain or edge cases such as when Firefox puts a padding 2 pixels off from Edge. Less moving parts, less things to break.

The lack of tracking is both a boon and a bane. Forms are simple and I can't make subscriber pages, which is a bummer.

@sunbather Also, as an English writer, there are certain things that conventions require italics. Not having italics in Gemtext has caused me a *great* deal of trouble since books, plays, etc. are all normally italicized. And I use `code` spans all the time, so it is heartbreaking that I can use either of them though they are in my day-to-day writing.

Overall, I thought about dual-homing my site for six months and still am happy I did it. I like the results and I like the ideas.

@sunbather To me it's like using a distraction-free editor, except I get to use the same Vim as usual!

But I'm no longer obsessing over CSS or whether I've closed this tag or if I have my figure and caption done the right way. I agree with the comments that it's a little too spartan and things like italics would be nice, but we already have plain text conventions that can be used just *fine* 😊

@sunbather Boosting and also replying so I can get notification responses.

@sunbather you are probably correct, BUT...

What I like about Gemini is I KNOW that anything I look at will be fast to load, and content focused.

The www is infected with bloat and nonsense, I can browse it with lynx but isn't not fun. If I fire up amfora or Lagrange I can be confident that whatever I view will care about my experience.

You can compare and contrast gopher Gemini and http on m0yng.uk where I've put effort into making all work as well as possible.

@M0YNG thank you for your thoughtful response. Serving content over all mediums sounds like a great approach

@sunbather I really like the simplicity of it all.

Compared to the web (where web browsers are arguably the worst part), gemini clients tend to be small, lean, and clean.

Also, with gemini you can just write the content and not worry about having to style it because that's up to the clients.

It's just a much nicer and easier to use way to just put information up on the internet and have others able to easily access it imo. For example, I'm making my wiki just a simple Gemini site (see pic).

@sunbather for me it's the community and the visual consistency. I like that everything looks the same! Plus there's lots of fun people contributing.

I've also been able to write a library for gemini servers in a weekend, which I could never do for the web and feel confident that it would work.

@sunbather I started messing around with it a year or so ago.

I kind of liked the idea that just about anyone could implementa client or server in a weekend (well, modulo libraries etc).

I do like the markdown-like syntax, but also think it's just a bit too limiting.

I do like that a lot of smart people blog in the gemini space, lots of good reading.

I really like using Lagrange, it's a lovely client.

gemini://astrobotany.mozz.us/ is fun :)

@sunbather But like you, I think that basic HTML5 + CSS, and without JS can produce much nicer documents, hyperlinks are actually a great invention, as are inline images.

Really nice websites can be built with less than 512k of HTML and CSS:

512kb.club/

@sunbather For me it's a couple things.

The limited spec means that gemini is particularly hostile to some of the things that make the modern web and social media so unpleasant for me. The result is a community with a particular set of shared values, and some creative things built within strict limitations, both of which I enjoy. Arguably reducing expressiveness is part of the goal.

The simplicity of implementation is *really* nice in comparison to the web. I wrote a functional client in an afternoon, after reading the spec, and was able to refine it into something that I actually use regularly in only a few days. I like to decouple myself from the corporation-centric abstraction towers of modern software development as much as possible, and this was a really nice change of pace.

Like, obviously gemini isn't "better" than the web, I just think it's different in a way that is enjoyable to me.
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Merveilles

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