Internet Gopher (alt.gopher) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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UofMN Gopher Team

Jun 10, 1992, 2:45:10 AM6/10/92
Archive-name: gopher-faq
Last-modified: 1992/06/10

Common Questions and Answers about the Internet Gopher, a
client/server protocol for making a world wide information service,
with many implementations. Posted to alt.gopher and news.answers
every two weeks.

Q0: What is Gopher?

A0: The Internet Gopher client/server provides a distributed
information delivery system around which a world/campus-wide
information system (CWIS) can readily be constructed. While
providing a delivery vehicle for local information, Gopher
facilitates access to other Gopher and information servers
throughout the world.

Q1: Where can I get gopher?

A1: via anonymous ftp to Look in the directory

Q2: What do I need to access gopher?

A2: You will need a gopher "client" program that runs on your local PC
or workstation

There are clients for the following systems. The directory
following the name is the location of the client on the anonymous
ftp site ( in the directory

Unix Curses : /pub/gopher/Unix/gopherxx.tar.Z
Xwindows : /pub/gopher/Unix/xgopherxx.tar.Z
Macintosh Hypercard : /pub/gopher/Mac_client/
Macintosh Application : /pub/gopher/Mac_client/
DOS w/Clarkson Driver : /pub/gopher/PC_client/
NeXTstep : /pub/gopher/NeXT/
VM/CMS : /pub/gopher/Rice_CMS/ or /pub/gopher/Vienna_CMS/
VMS : /pub/gopher/VMS/

There are also a number of public telnet login sites available.
The University of Minnesota operates one on the machine
"" ( See Q3 for more
information about this. It is recommended that you run the client
software instead of logging into the public telnet login sites. A
client uses the custom features of the local machine (mouse,
scroll bars, etc.) A local client is also faster.

Q3: Where are there publicly available logins for gopher.

A3: Here is a short list, use the site closest to you to minimize
network lag. ( North America ( North America

It is recommended that you run the client software instead of
logging into the public telnet login sites. A client uses the
custom features of the local machine (mouse, scroll bars, etc.) A
local client is also faster.

Q4: How can I add to the information in gopher?

A4: You can do this by running a gopher server. Servers are available
for a number of systems. Use anonymous ftp to ( and look in /pub/gopher. The
following servers are available there:

Unix : /pub/gopher/Unix/gopherxx.tar.Z
VMS : /pub/gopher/VMS/
Macintosh : /pub/gopher/Mac_server/
VM/CMS : /pub/gopher/Rice_CMS/ or /pub/gopher/Vienna_CMS/
MVS : /pub/gopher/mvs/

When you have your server ready you can publish it to the world by
sending e-mail to the maintainters of the "Other gophers" list:

Q5: Who Develops Gopher Software?

A5: Gopher was originally developed in April 1991 by the University
of Minnesota Microcomputer, Workstation, Networks Center to help
our campus find answers to their computer questions.

It has since grown into a full-fledged World Wide Information
System used by a large number of sites in the world.

Many people have contributed to the project, too numerous to

The people behind the much of the gopher software can be reached
via e-mail at, or via paper mail:

Internet Gopher Developers
100 Union St. SE #132
Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

Q6: How can I set up a "CSO" phone book server? Where is the software?

A6: CSO phone book servers are also known as "qi" servers. The
software implementation can be gotten via anonymous ftp from ( as /pub/qi.tar.Z. You may also
see this referred to as "ph", which is what most of the clients
are called.

There is also an archive of the mailing list for qi/ph software on
the same machine. It's in /pub/info-ph.archive.

This software is supported by Steve Dorner <>
Contact him for more information.

Q7: Why can't I access the University of Minnesota's UPI news?

A7: The University of Minnesota has a site license for UPI news, we
are not allowed to distribute it off of our campus. We get our
UPI news from Clarinet. For more information about getting UPI
news send mail to For information about
setting up your own gopher-UPI server search the gopher-news
archive for UPI.

Q8: When using the PC client I get the error message "getDispstr", why?

A8: The PC client isn't graceful when dealing with a bad server.
If the server gives it a gopher type not within the range 0-9
it gives this error message.

This can be caused by corrupted .cache files on a Unix gopher
server. Contact the server administrator about this problem.

Q9: What are the type characters for the different Gopher Objects?

A9: Normal IDs.

0 Item is a file
1 Item is a directory
2 Item is a CSO (qi) phone-book server
3 Error
4 Item is a BinHexed Macintosh file.
5 Item is DOS binary archive of some sort.
6 Item is a UNIX uuencoded file.
7 Item is an Index-Search server.
8 Item points to a text-based telnet session.
9 Item is a binary file! Client must read until the connection
closes. Beware.
T TN3270 connection.

Experimental IDs.

s Sound type. Data stream is a mulaw sound.
M MIME type. Item contains MIME data.
h html type.
I Image type.

Q10: When I do full-text searches I always get every document back, Why?

A10: This is a problem occasionally encountered with Unix full-text
indexes. It is caused by setting up the link incorrectly to a
gindexd port.

The Path= field should be *blank* when pointing to a gindexd

Otherwise the client will send the path to the gindexd daemon,
which interprets everything as a keyword. This path is
likely to contain a pathname that is common to all of the indexed
files. Thus a search generates hits on everything.

| Paul Lindner | | Slipping into madness
| | Computer & Information Services | is good for the sake
| GopherMaster | University of Minnesota | of comparision.
///// / / / /////// / / / / / / / / //// / / / / / / / /

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