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Different degrees of useless


Posted Sun 13 Jun, 2021.


Via HN I read:


Gemini is Useless


Which basically comes to say that Gemini's lack of features and simplicity are its killer features:


> This is how I view Gemini's value: "The Useless Tree" of the internet. Gemini's obscurity and lack of utility means that there are no analytics, no metrics, no ways to go viral, to monetize people's attention, build a career or even a minimally-functional web platform. No sane business would build on top of Gemini, and that is exactly why it is capable of having the character that it does. It is a "resistance-in-place" to the existing web, the attention economy and surveillance capitalism. While the existing web becomes increasingly centralized and commercialized, Gemini will remain as it is, frustrating anyone trying to extract value out of it.


And I mostly agree, but then I wonder how much uselessness is enough to keep being successful at being useless? There must be different degrees. Gemini improves on what Gopher can provide, and that suggests that is not just about being useless -Gopher fans: I'm not saying Gopher is useless!-, we could be using Gopher, isn't it?


I see why the Gemini spec has to specifically limit the extensibility of the protocol, but where it stops is important, and perhaps Gemini could be more useful without losing its appeal as useless alternative to the web.


For example: I'm not against using TLS, but why not supporting explicitly content length in the protocol? It doesn't sound to me like letting know the clients how many bytes they should expect could endanger Gemini by making it too useful, yet it seems like it is too late for this type of conversation.


Anyway, it has been quite a bit without mentioning Gemini here. I've been working on SCGI support for SpaceBeans, but I'm not completely happy with it, and all this conversation is making me having second thoughts. What would be the point?


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