My Gemini Shard

2021-03-05


So, I made a Gemini shard. What's Gemini, you ask? It's a new-ish internet protocol that's low-fi and secure by design. You want text? They got text. You want links? Bet your ass there's links. You want pictures? Fuck you, buy a magazine.

Outside of setting up SSL certs, which for a smoothbrain like me was far and away the biggest hurdle of this enterprise, a Gemini shard is a simple thing to run and maintain. The markup for the files is a purposely abridged Markdown knock-off, meaning there isn't a lot of syntax to worry about. If you get into reddit arguments, you can """design""" a Gemini shard no problem.

(Shard is their term for site, by the way.)

I haven't added much to my shard yet, as I'm a boring loser without much to say unless you want the details of my wanking schedule. Still, it's nice to have another little piece of the internet to call home.

Is it a meme? A bit of one, sure. Is it some hipster bullshit? Yeah probably. It's still neat though.

For educational purposes, I'll tag a brief run-down on setting up a Gemini shard to the end of this post. It's literally just what I wrote for myself in my how-to note. Enjoy.

Relevant links:




Browsers


Graphical


Terminal


Setting up a server


This was annoying to figure out. I think I was overthinking it.

First, to run a server, you'll need server software, duh. I recommend either Agate or Gemserv

Next, after installing either of those, generate and sign a key for yourself with this:

        openssl req -x509 -newkey rsa:4096 -keyout key.rsa -out cert.pem \
            -days 3650 -nodes -subj "/CN=example.com"
        


Note the 'example.com'. If you're running it locally, use 'localhost' or whatever domain you've got going, I guess. If you're running it somewhere else like a VPS, use the domain of the site.

Finally, run the server.

        Agate:
            agate --content /path/to/content --key /path/to/key --cert /path/to/cert

        Gemserv:
            gemserv CONFIG_PATH
            (obviously, edit the config first)
        

The files you need

To run a shard, you'll need at least three things:

You can add other stuff and navigate via links like a webserver.

Syntax


        #   level 1 heading
        ##  level 2 heading
        ### level 3 heading

        * Bulleted lists
        ``` Code span (end with ``` as well)
        > quoted text

        => path/to/URI    URI description
            These are links, and can be absolute '/path/, relative 'subdir/file', or
            outside links as well (http:// or gemini://).
        

As far as I know, gemini purposely provides no provisions for things like images, video, audio, etc. Those will just have to be links, which the browser will have to handle however it likes.