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Welcome to the wonderful retro/alternative future of Gemini space!

Here's the FAQ on Gemini. TL;DR, Gemini is an alternate internet protocol to either HTTP or Gopher. It's being touted as a modern alternative to Gopher, to bring back a lightweight, text-centric interweb but with some of the security features of modern day. As described in the FAQ:

You may think of Gemini as “the web, stripped right back to its essence” or as “Gopher, souped up and modernised just a little”…

Creating your own Gemini site 1) (“gemini capsule” the kids call them now) can be fun and SDF gives gemini space to all its users. There are currently two Gemini servers available on SDF, one on the cluster (for all users) and another on the metaarray for META users.

You can begin creating your own websites straight away!

In this tutorial when text looks like this, this means it's a command you can run in your shell, either from the cluster, or if you've logged into the meta array.

Viewing Gemini Pages

To start with, there are many ways to view your page and others in Geminispace. Here are the easiest ways you can view gemini pages from the SDF shell

Getting Started

Gemini hosting is super easy on SDF.

SDF serves users' gemini content from two places:

  • gemini:// on the cluster
  • gemini:// on the Meta Array

First, choose if you want to put your files on the cluster or the Meta Array. If you aren't on the Meta Array, then the cluster is your only choice.

  • Log in to your account on the cluster or the MetaArray
    • for the cluster Gemini space, create your directory in /ftp/pub/users with at least an index.gmi file:
      • use 'mkgopher'2):
        • at command prompt, enter: mkgopher
        • in the mkgopher program, type setup
        • type quit to exit. Your gemini (& gopher) directory should be set up with proper permissions at /ftp/pub/users/${LOGNAME}
    • for the Meta Array Gemini space, create your directory in /meta/gemini with at least a index.gmi file:
      • mkdir -p /meta/gemini/${LOGNAME}

Now on to make your first gemini page!

Your First Page!

Creating your first page is SO easy! First you'll need to open a text editor. SDF has many text editors installed but new users to UNIX often find that nano is the easiest to work with. After you change directories to the new directory you just made as described above, either:

nano /ftp/pub/users/${LOGNAME}/index.gmi


nano /meta/gemini/${LOGNAME}/index.gmi

This command starts the nano text editor, creating a new file, called 'index.gmi' in your Gemini capsule directory.

Once you've executed the command above. You'll notice that the terminal layout has changed. If you press keys on your keyboard you'll notice they appear in the “text buffer”. Write out the text below into this program.

#My First Page!

This is my first page in Gemini space!

=> gemini:// To the SDF cluster Gemini Homepage
=> gemini:// To the SDF Meta Array Gemini Homepage

Now that you have copied the text out into 'nano', you need to save the file. To do this, hold down the 'CTRL' key on your keyboard and whilst pressing that, press the letter 'x', and respond “yes” to the request to save. You've just written your first gemtext file. It's a very simple markup language compared to HTML, as you can see.

NOTE: file permissions: to be able to see this file with a browser, you need to change the permissions. at the command line after saving your file, just enter chmod go+r index.gmi. This will grant read permissions on that particular file to everyone else besides you.

Now, just open a Gemini browser and navigate to either:

  • for your Gemini page on the cluster: gemini://{yourusername}/
  • for your Gemini page on the Meta Array: gemini://{yourusername}

You should see your very own Gemini capsule!

Once you've created your directory and index.gmi file you will be added to the top index. Sites are listed by most recent activity first and will include a title if you created a heading (e.g.,'##My First Page!') on the first line of your index.gmi

Building Out Your Gemini Capsule

You can get more direction on the native markup for Gemini, called gemtext by reading the gemtext specification, which can be found by navigating to gemini://

SDF Cluster Gemini server: gemini:// ; SDF Meta Gemini server: gemini:// .
The SDF mkgopher tool manages workspace for both gemini & gopher
gemini_site_setup_and_hosting_features.txt · Last modified: 2023/06/30 23:39 by hc9