Your Internet Consultant - The FAQs of Life Online
Gopher is a fine example of this ability to transparently move from machine to machine. I've been exploring Gopherspace and have spent hours browsing, all the while blissfully unaware that I'm hopping from machine to machine, server to server, even overseas and back.
The secret is that when you're using Gopher, you're never connected to any computer other than your own Internet host. What happens is that your local system sends a request for the list of menu items from the server computer, which it then receives, and displays so that you can peruse it to your heart's content. While you're doing that, however, you aren't connected to the remote machine. (This is a very important distinction, and we'll explore it more later in this chapter.) The biggest win from this design is that if the item you choose to browse is actually on a different server than the one that gave you the menu, you simply connect directly to the new machine without any intermediaries.
Once your computer receives the menu of possibilities from the server, the connection is severed and that server can work with other people while you browse the list, looking for your information. If you were to choose the menu item that corresponded to "look on server #2," the request would go directly to server #2, and server #1 would be out of the picture.
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