HomeIoTDavide Eynard's PicoGopher Places a '90s Community Protocol on a Raspberry Pi...

Davide Eynard’s PicoGopher Places a ’90s Community Protocol on a Raspberry Pi Pico W — and in a Backpack

Maker, developer, and retro community fanatic Davide Eynard is bringing again the Gopher protocol, internet hosting a “gopherhole” on a Raspberry Pi Pico W — and packing a battery to make it obtainable over Wi-Fi wherever he goes.

“After I first heard about Gopher, I puzzled how small its footprint was,” Eynard explains of the protocol, launched in 1991 to supply a quickly-implementable system for sharing of paperwork on a community. “Are you able to run a Gopher server on a really previous pc? Effectively, in fact sure, given the protocol’s been round for 30 years. Are you able to run it on a really small one? Once more, sure: gopher.3564020356.org runs on a [Raspberry Pi] 2, and when you wander sufficient across the gopherspace you’ll simply find yourself in a gopherhole served by a Raspberry Pi Zero.”

These, although, proved too highly effective for Eynard’s fancy. As a substitute, he turned to one thing significantly extra resource-constrained: The Raspberry Pi Pico W, which has a dual-core Arm Cortex-M0+ microcontroller, 264kB of static RAM (SRAM), and simply 2MB of flash storage. Even by the requirements of 1991, when a laptop computer may provide 2MB of reminiscence expandable to 16MB and as much as a beneficiant 60MB of exhausting drive area, that is tight — however not too tight, it transpires.

The ensuing “PicoGopher” venture implements a practical Gopher server in MicroPython, having began with an HTTP server offering a mock-up of a Gopher server earlier than implementing Gopher correctly — full with the power to load any file from storage and to translate “gophermaps,” for which Eynard makes use of a “fairly easy” strategy that “does probably not test for correctness of the enter file — it simply assumes each row returned to the consumer has to comprise 4 columns as outlined within the RFC [Request For Comments]: Merchandise sort concatenated with some content material, path, area, and port.”

The ultimate step within the venture: Making the Gopher server transportable. Eynard hooked the Raspberry Pi Pico W to a battery pack and positioned it in a backpack. “Now a mirror of my gopherhole follows me,” he writes on Mastodon. “If you’re in London and see this totally legit-looking SSID on the Tube 😅 be at liberty to hitch and browse,” he provides — referring to the hot-spot delivered by the Raspberry Pi Pico W, known as “JOIN ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ME”.

Extra particulars on the venture can be found on Eynard’s Gopher web site, ope is accessible from the fashionable internet utilizing the Floodgap Gopher gateway; the supply code for constructing your personal will be discovered on GitHub underneath the reciprocal GNU Common Public License 3.


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