Skip to main content

Decentralized Web Camp 2022

Once upon a time in a Mendocino Redwood Forest a slice of humanity decided to camp together and find ways to make technology work better for people.  I had the good fortune to thrive and soak in this environment.

I sponsored this (and past) conferences because I believe that a better future will emerge from global visionaries teamed up with builders.  These are the seeds that will yield results months and years from now.

To my surpise, some seeds have sprouted!  It was a few years ago when I drug Nathan Schneider to the Internet Archive.  I saw a direct connection between cooperatives and decentralization.   Today the concept of "exit to community" is real, and Nathan is talking policy with luminaries like Lawrence Lessig.

Another seedling is Resonate Cooperative.  This plucky music streaming service has evolved since my first involvement in 2016 and now has some serious support from Cooperative Jackson alums.  Rich and Brandon are great stewards, and they made connections that will prove valuable in the future!

The People

Many past connections were renewed and strengthened over a meal or s'mores.  Wendy, Brewster, Brian, Nick, Christina, Mai, Joahchim, Primavera, Liz, Danny, Jay, Emily, Tracey, Ross -- you are all incredible people.  And here's to the many new connections, too many to mention.  I connected with my Weaver group, the Mesh team, Amber, Jack, Christine, Lia, Koh, Jessy, and a bunch more.  So many fantastic connections, in many beautiful liminal spaces including the 10ft fire pit, 24/7 Coffee, Hackers Movies, Dancing to DJ sets, button making, hikes among the trees and stargazing.

Sessions and More

While not congregating there were all sorts of great ways to converge on the important topics of decentralization.   I have most of what I attended on my schedule, but here's some highlights to give you a taste.

Hack. the. Planet

My portable projector, glo-totems and movie screen allowed me to introduce the classic movie Hackers to many.


Each attendee was asked to give two books and take two books from the library.  This was brilliant.  I took a photo of all the books and have an instant reading list for the next year and beyond.

Interplanetary Timekeeping

A fascinating session about governing a timekeeping system on the moon and beyond presented by Jessy Kate Schingler.

Systems Mapping Governance

Christina Bowen, the master of visualizing complex systems and stock and flow diagrams made this into a rich dive into how systems interact on multiple days.  I spent a lot of time in these sessions and am so glad I did!

A Governance Layer for the Internet / the Four Forces that Regulate the Internet

The first of this three-day set of sessions went deep with some great thinkers and participation of the entire group.  It's hard to summarize this, it went to many places.  But I believe that the focus on turning the abstract into reality was there.

Lawrence Lessig also presented the Four Forces which will be familiar to anyone that's read his books.  It was a good way to see things direct from his perspective.

Solidarity in practice: The story of Digital Democracy and Mapeo

It was refreshing to see a fully realized decentralized, offline first application used to help the people of the Amazon realize their own rights and express use technology for their local needs.  We need more Mapeos!

Peer Based Social Science in the Wild

Zarinah Agnew and Jessy Kate Schingler had us all survey ourselves about self-governance and allowed us to experience ethnographic research directly.  I have my 'token' of completion allowing me to interact with the DAO.  Understanding what people need and how they interact is key to finding systems that work for the most people.

Bad Apple

Lisa Rein from the Aaron Schwartz project showed how you can build a system to process internal police public records to keep communities safer.

Proof Mode

Jack Fox was on hand to present Proof Mode and described how this mechanism for turning photos into signed evidence was used by activists in the rainforest to provide irrefutable proof that they live in the areas slated for oil exploration.  It was inspiring to see math and technology aimed at a specific, on the ground problem.

Policy, Governments and Tornado Cash

Koh, Danny O'Brien and some others took advantage of the free time to set up a super engaging conversation about how deentralization intersects with government policy.  Many of us (myself included) had discussed much of the same at DEFCON 30 a few weeks prior.  I was able to contribute a little bit to the discussion.  The conversation flowed quickly and I think that some good ideas about using norms and industry coordination to address these issues may prove fruitful.  I'm excited to see the followup from the connections made at this event that emerged from the soup!

Connecting with the Earth and Indigenous Practices

Connecting the decentralization movement with indigenous practices and rights was a joy to behold.   I appreciated the speakers on the topics and the conversations with many of the Dweb fellows from around the world.  Remembering that technology connects with the earth was a good reminder that we are stewards of the land and the technology ecosystems.  For the water ceremony I brought Oakland condensed fog.

Art Art and more Art!

Typewriter Tarts had an installation in the library that was amazing!  I hope I can help them get some of their work published.  The Name-tag/Button making station was amazing, magazines were provided to cut and paste into your own individual creation.  Sessions on how Art can intersect with Decentralized Services were plenty.  I attended a good breakout with Barry Thew from Gray Area and Victoria Ivanova who guided us through thinking about how art and technology might evolve in the current environment and what needs to change.  As usual the participants came up with a plethora of ideas.  I hope to see some of this published soon!



And just like that it was over.  Due to a conflicting schedule I had to skip the last day.  I had breakfast, packed up my projector and said my goodbyes.  I'm already planning for a Brazil version and for 2023, and hope to see the garden grow from the seeds planted here.   It was a magical time and brought back memories of early Gopher conferences and other early formative Internet events.  May the ripples spread out and become waves!



A challenge to the data hoarders out there. Find the contents of the amazing music archive that one lived at (FTP or Gopher) and was mirrored to

@textfiles - didn't see it in the boneyard. Ideas?


The end times approach. Gopher protocol over HTTP and support for TLS.

But seriously I now have the weirdest Masto timeline with Adam Curry NoAgenda Show folks and retro-hacker Gopher Protocol people.


Looks like Adam Curry spoke about Internet Gopher on the Rogan Podcast, so I had to dig this out of the email archives from September '93
@noagenda @adamcurry :


gopherserver coming soon

gopherserver coming soon

Looks like Adam Curry spoke about Internet Gopher on the Rogan Podcast, so I had to dig this out of the email archives from September '93 



RT @Albatross: An article in @EFF by @doctorow about and . Links include my Gopher paper. Eleme…


Adversarial Interoperability - Grunge Edition

I only contributed factual info....

Also realized that Gopher was announced to comp.unix.misc the day before Smells Like Teen Spirit came out.


Local Grungy People

This post below is a copy of a Sep 17, 2014 post from the internal Google+ Team community.

I'm reposting it because today I published an Obituary site that includes some of these discussed here. What I wrote today is just as import
ant today as it was back then.

Mediating and initiating local and human connections are needed now more than ever.

[I'd also say that we need preservation too, I'm fortunate to be able to relive these memories, compared to MySpace or Snapchat users.]

Anyway, here it is after 5 years....

Subject: Local Grungy People?

...and the importance of serendipity, locals and shared interests.

warning longish philosophical post ahead...

I thought the pre-TGIF Social Presentation was weak, but it did contain one very important quote there are no strangers, only friends you haven't met yet. If I were presenting I'd dump almost all of the mechanics about how we suck at onboarding and just tell a story about that.

Tell a story about how we go from sharing an interest to sharing your entire life together. Tell a story about how we're going to help users with this basic need to connect, and how Google can use technology to mediate this. Tell us how Google can provide just the right amount of serendipity that helps people connect on a personal level. (and then provide the rest of the infrastructure to do the private/personal thing too.)

Because that's my story. It's how a shared interest became love and a wonderful life spent together, due to mailing list: GRUNGE-L

Back then there were no profiles, but there were .signatures. So serendipitously I found myself discussing bands with someone a few miles away. Until one day I made the personal connection and sent the following email.

The rest, as they say, is history

Date: Wed, 8 Jan 92 13:04:43 CST
Subject: Local Grungy people

Hey, are there any other people from Minnesota besides you and myself
on the wonderful grunge-l mailing list?

I'm always interested in putting a face onto an e-mail address. I'll
probably be at the Babes in Toyland Show saturday, and the Local Band
showcase on Monday.


| Paul Lindner | | "You have to Spit
| | Computer & Information Services | to See the Shine" --
| Gopher Dude | University of Minnesota | Babes in Toyland
///// / / / /////// / / / / / / / / //// / / / / / / / /


A Gopher interface to relational databases

Pretty sure I was aware of good ol' Bobby Tables back then too.


Technology and Defense (Minnesota Edition)

This is an amazing history of technology in Minnesota. The rise and decline can be traced directly to military expenditures.

It also goes into the fascinating connection between the declining streetcar industry and how those engineers created the first disk drives using electric motors and spinning wheels.

Also tune-in for the coverage of Oregon Trail and of course Internet Gopher....


New comment by lindner in "Solid State: Minnesota's High-Tech History"

This is a lot of history crammed into an hour. Goes from the early code-breaking work and the development of Drum Memory at Engineering Research Associates.

ERA merged with Sperry/Univac/Remington and then begat Control Data, Cray, Unisys and many others.

Also tune in for some history of the Oregon Trail by Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium (MECC) and how that ties into the rise of Internet Gopher.

Oh and disclaimer: former Gopher Dude here.


In June 1995 I presented "Using Gopher with the World-Wide-Web" at GopherCon 95.

""Together the strengths of Gopher and WWW create a better, more integrated information system.""


Before there was Commons Clause or Affero the University of Minnesota Gopher team tried to license the server code with carve-outs for non-commercial use.


Greetings Plussers!

Paul here from the Superfund Squad, where we're getting rid of the infrastructure you love to hate and paying off unfunded mandates with technical debt. And digging up the History of Google's Social Efforts in the attached collection.

I've been cranking at this social thing for almost 7 years at Google on Google+ and a long time before that at places Six Apart (home of Typepad and Livejournal), hi5 and LinkedIn. I did a lot of work on OpenSocial and other standards back then which is a big reason I'm here today.

Oh and this enterprise thing isn't my first rodeo. Way back at Critical Path we provided hosted email, calendar and tasks for Italian Telecoms, Major Universities *and* the Kiss Army. And at Red Hat we sold shrink wrap and services to all sales channels.

But I'm most proud of the work I did at the UN on telecom standards, relief efforts and publishing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 500 languages. (And the site is still standing to this day!)

And finally before that was the Internet Gopher.. Me, with Heavy Metal hair:

Beyond all this tech I enjoy life in Oakland with my fabulous wife Julie and our Great Pyrenees Gus. You'll find us exploring the parks of the East Bay, checking out obscure music or cruising the rapidly gentrifying Valencia street in the Mission. I'm also heavily interested in building software and systems that last the long term. I'm a member of the Long Now ( and I have a 20% project called Digital Vellum (http://go/digitalvellum)

Happy to be here with y'all and looking forward to our next adventures!


New comment by lindner in "How SSH got port number 22"

For the record Gopher used port 150 for some time until we got a warning from Joyce that we had to change it.

Registering MIME types was also easy:


@bfeld team gopher spent a lot of time on Forms Nirvana, which lives to this day at


New comment by lindner in "The Rise and Fall of the Gopher Protocol"

Regarding cuts, yes. We had to do with less year-over-year. From Hasselmo's 1991 State of the U address:

> """We lost at least 5 million to inflation, and 6 million through a base cut this year. In addition to a potential 5 million loss to inflation next year again, the Governor's vetoes of IT and systemwide special appropriations cut another 3 million in funding -- for which we are aggressively seeking full restoration."""

The mainframe teams had a harder time of things. For Microcomputers we were lucky - our hardware costs decreased and we had a deal with the University Bookstore to support their computer hardware sales.

That stuff was still expensive. Here's some educational pricing for a workstation with substantial education discount in 1994.

                                        list          discount   
  IBM model 25T                         495         400.00
         80Mhz upgrade                  500         $ 953.50
         64MB upgrade                   $             912.00
         2GB disk upgrade               $             463.00

New comment by lindner in "The Rise and Fall of the Gopher Protocol"

We liked Hyper-G because it had a bi-directional link model and the Harmony browser was able to render VRML.

Maybe 2016 will be the year VR takes off (again)


New comment by lindner in "The Rise and Fall of the Gopher Protocol"

This is so true. You have to remember that finances were really tight at this time. The University budget was getting cut left and right throughout the history of Gopher's evolution. At one point there were plans to outsource everyone to the Minnesota Supercomputer Institute.

Of course in hindsight obtaining grants or forming a partnership with a non-profit org or an academic department might have been a better choice, especially for all the professional services requests.

edit: Also you have to remember that computing was a LOT more expensive then. I have old quotes for SparcStations and RS/6000s that were in the 0-40k range, even with an educational discount.. The Mac IIci's were not cheap either ~k when loaded up with RAM.



Interesting ideas that protocols can be monetized thus leading to more diversity.

I'm not sure I agree with the premise. Large players have many more levers to get their protocols adopted and defend their turf.

There's also the risk that all new protocols will _require_ monetization so governments and internet infrastructure orgs can extract rents/taxes from the activity on the network.

On the other hand if the Gopher Protocol was monetized I might be sipping drinks on the beach instead of toiling in the protobuf mines...


*GopherLeaks* - Gopher @30 and Email Retention...

I'm working with a journalist writing a long-form Gopher article. I have every. single. email. from the 90s. It was incredible and allowed me to get some facts straight, relive some past glories and groan at some bonehead moments.

So I'm sad that Googlers will never get to have the same experience 30 years from now. With our 18 month retention policy and corporate ownership you'd better start keeping a [paper] diary..

[_And wow, I sure was a cocky mf back then._ and here's a Stevens reference since I was a metalhead unix programmer back then..]


SWEs should do Part Time User Support

My first dev job in 1991 required that I do at least 4h of phone support and 4h of walk-in support a week.  Feeling user pain and answering the same dumb questions over and over made me a better developer and also led to a bunch of innovation:

- Mainframe Mail Woes? Develop SLIP/PopMail, give away on floppy
- Xmodem problems? Add hqx attachment support.
- Need access to Apple's techinfo CD?  Get it via Gopher.
- Indepth howtos?  Publish newsletters like you see below.

You don't have to answer the phone to help people today.  You can engage externally on mailing lists, on G+ and more.  Just remember to follow the guidelines in http://go/u2u


This following comment makes me wonder...  when will HTML not make up the majority of our search corpus?

_They've already been using their ranking system to encourage HTTP and HTML. Think of all the poor BBSs and gopher servers they've been discriminating against!_


University of Minnesota alumni meetup in full swing.

University of Minnesota alumni meetup in full swing.

Was asked if there will be a version of Gopher for Glass :)


Anyone want to help Danny?

Anyone want to help Danny?

Originally shared by Paul Lindner

I just claimed my Google Scholar profile. If you create one of these profiles you should consider doing the following:

- Add it to the Other profiles section of your profile (

- Link back to your Google+ profile (edit Homepage and link back to your profile)

Also note that that really old paper was for Gopher+, not Google+.


I just claimed my Google Scholar profile.

I just claimed my Google Scholar profile. If you create one of these profiles you should consider doing the following:

- Add it to the Other profiles section of your profile (

- Link back to your Google+ profile (edit Homepage and link back to your profile)

Also note that that really old paper was for Gopher+, not Google+.


Now I can finally populate my Internet Gopher circle! FYI my old gopher Ts are now on loan to the computer museum.

Now I can finally populate my Internet Gopher circle! FYI my old gopher Ts are now on loan to the computer museum.

hmu if you want to talk about the past present or future!


A totally different type of Gopher than what I'm known for :)

A totally different type of Gopher than what I'm known for :)

Going to have to pick one of these up tomorrow at the Google Store...

Originally shared by Peng Ying

I wish this wasn't 11.95.. what the crap man


On Vox: Gopher on MTV