GopherVR for Macintosh and Unix

Neophytos Iacovou (
Thu, 30 Mar 1995 18:26:17 -0600 (CST)

Announcing alpha-test releases
of Internet GopherVR for Macintosh and Unix

Announcing GopherVR
At GopherCON '94 we talked about using 3D scenes as a user
interface metaphor for navigating the Internet and visualizing
relationships and clustering of documents. Early (alpha test)
releases of Macintosh and Unix Gopher clients that display 3D
scenes are now available via gopher and anonymous ftp from

Although not yet complete, in this release you can browse gopher
directories by driving around Gopherspace, navigate between gopher
servers by driving through a series of 3D scenes, open items by
clicking on them, get overviews of the neighborhood you are in,
and view meta-information about items.

Because this is an alpha-test release, we are still working on
the software and will be doing frequent bugfix releases. Use it
at your own risk, and please send us bug reports and comments.
We are doing an early release of this software because we have
found this to be the best way of quickly shaking out bugs and
feature sets.

To keep up to date on the bugfix releases of GopherVR, subscribe
to gopher-news by e-mailing a subscribe request to:
Major new releases are announced on gopher-announce. Subscribe
by sending e-mail to:

Why a 3D user interface to Gopher?
Gopher has an explicit organization and structure which is
external to the content of the documents, so it is straightforward
to map a 3D virtual world interface onto the existing gopher
servers. Since the Gopher+ protocol also has provisions for open
ended extensions and meta-information that resides external to the
content of documents, it is also easy for servers to give 3D-savvy
clients the 3D spatial coordinates and orientation of objects in a
gopher directory. This means that we can both synthesize 3D scenes
from existing non-3D-savvy Gopher servers, and take advanatge of
new 3D-savvy servers without reworking the contents of the
documents published in Gopher.

Virtual world interfaces give us a powerful data visualization
tool. GopherVR makes it possible to display clustering of documents
which is not feasible on either a menu or a flat page. Combining
GopherVR with servers that catagorize and cluster collections of
documents will make it possible to visualize complex retationships
within collections. To be effective, moving about the 3D scene must
be fast and fluid, and GopherVR has been optimized for quick
navigationn within the scene without hardware Z-buffer.

What comes after this release?
With later versions of this software you will be able to define
3D icons for objects in Gopherspace, and server administrators
will be able to specify placement of objects in 3D scenes.
In addition, there will be more user navigation features for
browsing within the 3D scenes.

TurboGopherVR 2.1a1 is a sneak-preview (alpha-test) release
of an Internet Gopher client that combines a point and click
browser interface to the Internet with a 3D virtual-world
interface. Essentially, this is a superset of the current
release version of TurboGopher (version 2.0) with 3D

TurboGopherVR 2.1a1 requires a PowerPC Macintosh running
System 7 or better. System 7.5.1 is reccommended since this
version of the system software includes a much improved
floating point math library. A version for 68K Macs is also
under construction but is not yet available.

To get the software, gopher to and follow
the path /gopher/Macintosh-TurboGopher/TurboGopherVR. This
brings you to the directory holding the current version of the

You can also use these URLs to get to the same directory:


GopherVR 0.1 is an alpha-test release of an X-window Gopher client.
GopherVR for Unix is curently available for SUN Sparc, SGI, and
IBM AIX RS-6000 platforms. At this time, only binaries are available
since we expect frequent changes to the source. To run the software,
you will need a color monitor. We have tested the software on

SUN SunOS 4.1.3 with MIT X11R5 distribution
SGI IRIX 5.3 with SGI's X-windows distribution
IBM AIX 3.2.5 with IBM's X-windows distribution

To get the software, gopher to and follow
the path /gopher/Unix/GopherVR. This brings you to the directory
holding the current version of the software.

You can also use these URLs to get to the same directory:


GopherVR binaries will be available for HP-UX and DEC OSF soon.

This is an alpha test release. We wouldn't reccomend
distributing this to every user in your organization yet, since

1.) There are a lot more features that will be added in
the near future

2.) There are certainly going to be bugs.

If you find a bug, please report it to us by sending an e-mail
decribing your computer, the version of the operating system and
how you caused the bug to occur. If you have ideas for features we'd
love to hear about it. Send your bug reports and comments to:


Internet Gopher Team / mongoose & iguana squad
TurboGopherVR 2.1.a1
Unix GopherVR 0.1
March 30, 1995

See you at GopherCON '95 !
For information on GopherCON '95 see:

Neophytos Iacovou Distributed Computing Services
University of Minnesota 100 Union St. SE
email: Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA