I'm Andrew. I write about the past and future of tech, music, media, culture, art, and activism. This is my blog.

What the eff is gemini?

Posted: November 12, 2022

I’ve been talking about gemini a bunch recently, but I haven’t really explained. Gemini is an attempt to reimagine a world wide web that is smaller (the the smallpunk/small things manifesto sense), that is able to be understood, that cannot spy on you, that is human centric.

Gemini is:

  • a protocol (that is, a way for software to talk to other software),
  • a network (that is, a bunch of computers),
  • a hypermedia web (you know, a collection of files that link to one another, like the internet that you’re used to)

which is designed to be small, simple, and easy to understand.

Lots of other people have explained this better than I will:

Gemini on Wikipedia

An interview with Solderpunk about the inspiration and the creation of Gemini!

Official Gemini FAQ

So what’s the big deal?

The big deal is that the modern web sucks.

That should be the end of this article, but I’ll go on.

The web started as something to share knowledge, and quickly became a platform for surveillance and exploitation. Gemini was designed with the knowledge of how the promise of the web was stolen from us, and designed to be something apart from that, and immune to the ways the first web failed. It isn’t a replacement for the modern web, it’s just a small weird corner where we can make things and tell stories and find a community.

A place where people can get together and share things, read things, write things, without worrying about facebook’s tracking pixels or google’s ad buys.

It is playful. Embrace it.

Small Things

I’ve written at length about why we need to reject things that were designed to extract profit at the expense of all us. I called this idea The Small Things Manifesto. Other folks have been calling it smallpunk.

The Small Things Manifesto

Gemini is the web reimagined through the lens of human scale anticapitalism.

Great, how do I join in?

Well, that part is kind of complicated. I use a browser called LaGrange. I’m using a server called GemServ. On mobile, I use Buran. Installing Buran and LaGrange is simple, and you can get started with reading gemini right away. Setting up GemServ is somewhat complicated if you’ve never self hosted a project before.

I’m working on a guide to reading and writing on gemini for non-technical users, but that will come at another time. Until then, take a look at Yesterweb Cities, or one of the dozens of Tilde servers that offer Gemini hosting.



yesterclub cities

What the eff is gemini? was published on 2022-11-07 at gemini://gem.ajroach42.com and republished here with minor modification.

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