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The Gopher protocol is a TCP/IP application layer protocol designed for distributing, searching, and retrieving documents over the Internet. Strongly oriented towards a menu-document design, the Gopher protocol was a predecessor of (and later, an alternative to) the World Wide Web. The protocol offers some features not natively supported by the Web and imposes a much stronger hierarchy on information stored on it. Its text menu interface is well-suited to computing environments that rely heavily on remote text-oriented computer terminals, which were still common at the time of its creation in 1991, and the simplicity of its protocol facilitated a wide variety of client implementations. Although largely supplanted by the Web in the years following, the Gopher protocol is still in use by enthusiasts, and a small population of actively-maintained servers remains. (Excerpt from Wikipedia article: Gopher protocol)
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