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2020/11/30 - Tech - Smolnet - Dear Sandy Claus

Dear Sandy Claus,

As you are the maker and dev par excellence, I hope you can help me at least order my thoughts a bit:

What would my dream Smolnet Client look like? Here’s a few ideas to consider for good girls and boys on the GopherGeminiFingerFTPPubnixTelnetVerse. (This is why I just say smolnet. ^.~ )


Customizable styling by simple config à la Moonlander. But this would just be an optional GTK or Qt front end. Regardless, darkmode by default in glorious traditional terminal colours. Command line serif monospace, preferably a Unicode compleat Fixedsys our Courier.

Merlot - Links

Auburn - Regular text

Dark Lime - Lists & Formatted

SmolColour content by ANSI escapes supported, natch. And the interface in terminal or out ought to support ANSI escapes by menu as Pine does so kindly. But can set all that to be off in config too.


Lynx is ever fresh. It would be nice to have a bit of Lynx cursor selection but also the delightful fluency of AV98/VF1 phlog reading. Menus and key macros both help everyone.

An input field always at the bottom, which changes colour style depending on if it is in command or page input.

Gemini subscription extended to phlogs and perhaps Finger. I’ve been thinking about Fellowsh on Circumlunar.Space lately, the potential for a Finger/Write based chat system, how it could run on almost any channel, no matter how smol.


All of them. Haha.

But truly: I miss the days when Mosaic browser would jaunt between Gopherspace and Web seamlessly. There is something to be said for Lynx style ambidexterity, or a well (and easily) integrated suite of clients

Gemini, Gopher, Telnet, Web. Perhaps a suite with a suped up Agena to pass to and from programmes like Lynx for the latter, or EOM for images, &c.

Upload and page input by Titan, FTP, SFTP...

That’s too webby!

Not if it’s done smolly! No one says Lynx isn’t smol, and that is web. Whether one client or a suite, the tools of Smolnet funtimes can be brought together and made accessible in a more seamless and organic way. I do think an Agena like doohickey could certainly integrate more protocols for better flow. Ideally it shouldn’t require excessive geekery to:

Read a few stories on Gopher

Read and respond to some glogs

Find a friend’s Finger through neo-GUS-Veronica to

Send them a gpg email or say cheerio on XMPP.

But... Why?

Because Smolnet is the cat’s pyjamas.

I have non-techie friends ask me about all this, but with little accessible to them to take a look for themselves, save the gopher/Gemini web proxies. They nod approvingly when I talk about killing “likes” and bloat. They want basic internet privacy and sustainability and human scale. Can they be on smolnet? I don’t think it takes much... More binaries, less user compiling.

What might come of the Smolnet in years to come? What are we doing here, maintaining and rebuilding this odd little counterculture?

Well, if things are made smol, and if smol is available and more seamless, what fresh freedoms might that engender? Minimalism can be more than an idle æsthetic. Minimalism can impart clarity and ease, necessary requisites of a more truly human life.

Well, I’m hungry and tired and meandering. But that’s alright. Merry Christmacetera!



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