Published 2020-09-17 on The Mister Banal's blog

The web is dead

Mozilla Firefox is falling and becoming a sponsorship showcase, only subsist in the mainstream line Google Chrome and other Chromium derivates, Safari which has never been a concurrent, and other minor alternatives as Webengine ones.

At writing time, Chrome owns 81% of the web browser usage statistics. This huge usage monopoly give Google a real power over the web evolutions. Pushing new features as standards forces concurrent to follow implementations or to become obsoletes.

WWW tend towards complexity. A this time, it is no longer possible for someone or worse some company to build a new web browser. The scope of feature a web browser have to provide is now way to large to be developed, worsly to be defined.

So the only web browser that exists and will exists in the future are the ones that already exists at the moment.

Here was a rapid part of the state of the world wide web at this writing time.

However, the WWW firstly was a way to easily share contents based on a simple HTTP markup language. A simple but complete web browser could be wrote by a small group in a pretty decent amount of time. This gave the web its decentralized, not owned and XXX spirit.

Somehow people lost the control over the web and we are now in a state where :

  • browse the web over low performance device is horrible
  • browse the web over a smartphone is a pain in the ass
  • we have to try hard and stay paranoid to protect our privacy
  • we have this kind of shitty lost/lost situation where we have to consent over cookies in every single website we browse
  • we use material thousand more powerful, we read the exact same kind of content but the web is way less reactive than before

To summarize all this crap: we lost balance in the relation feature provided / resource cost. And it seems what is done can’t be undone

Restart all, learn from errors

Gemini is a way to share content over a pretty simple protocol and a low feature markup language. Its name obviously came from the space Gemini project, after the Mercurial and before the Apollo one.

The Gemini project goal was to test and master all the required steps to bring a Human from Hearth to the Moon and back. The launcher was cheap but reliable. The projects cost tend to be closer to the Mercurials one but the possibilities of the launchers and modules was closer than the Apollo projects.

The idea is that Gemini, as content sharing protocol, provide minimal and scopes features. Its goal is not to go on moon but not to be lacking of important features.

  • A simple header line bringing information about mime-type and return code
  • A markup language inspired by markdown with less feature
  • Usage by design of SSL/TLS

As you can see:

  • no style markup language
  • no interactive front end scripting
  • no cookies
  • no request headers

In consequences:

  • no privacy issue, as you never give user data other than the resource you want.
  • no performance lacking
  • easy implementation (a simple but usable browser can be write in an afternoon)
  • content can be read without special rendering

The Gemini markup language

This is inspired by markdown but is not markdown. The reason is that Gemini tries to disallow some implementations to use other unwanted features that markdown could brings.

Here a Gemini markup example:

# A title 1

## A title 2

### A title 3

=> /foo An url

=> gemini://my.capsule.com/foo Another url

* A list item
* Another list item

'''
  a  pre-formated
     content
'''

Everything not listed here is not allowed by the language. As you can see, only 3 title levels exists. The way to display it is up to the client choice. This is not the content owner that choose how to display it.

Conclusion

The Gemini community still is pretty new but very active. People take pleasure to write personal capsules (the Gemini way to refer to websites) and other blog related content. People use this environment to share thoughts easily. There already is two search engine and aggregated feeds to browse content from the Geminiverse.

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