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Compiling and installing Gophernicus

Gophernicus requires a C compiler but no extra libraries aside from standard LIBC ones. Care has been taken to use only standard POSIX syscalls so that it should work pretty much on any *nix system.

Please make sure that you checkout to the correct version you want. Currently, you most likely want version 3.1.1.

To compile and install run:

$ git clone -b 3.1.1 https://github.com/gophernicus/gophernicus.git
$ cd gophernicus
$ ./configure --listener=somelistener
$ make
$ sudo make install

Important configure arguments include:

  • --listener. This is the only required argument. You must choose a listener that passes network requests to gophernicus, as gophernicus dosen't do this by itself. The options are:
    • systemd, a common init system on many Linux distributions that can do this without an external program.
    • inetd, an older, well-known implementation that is very simple.
    • xinetd, a modern reimplementation of inetd using specific config files.
    • mac, to be used on Mac OSX machines.
    • haiku, to be used on Haiku machines.
    • autodetect, which looks at what you have avaliable (unrecommended, please manually specify where possible).
  • --hostname. This is by default attempted to be autodetected by the configure script, using the command hostname. It is expected to be the publicly-accessible address of the server. However, this might be completely wrong, especially on your personal machine at home or on some cheap VPS. If you know you have a fixed numerical IP, you can also directly use that. For testing, just keep the default value of localhost which will result in selectors working only when you're connecting locally.
  • --gopherroot. The location in which your gopher server will serve from. By default is /var/gopher. Also can be changed later using the -r <root> parameter in configuration files.

That's it - Gophernicus should now be installed, preconfigured and running under gopher:///. And more often than not, It Just Works(tm).

Compiling with TCP wrappers

Gophernicus uses no extra libraries... well... except libwrap (TCP wrappers) if it is installed with headers in default Unix directories at the time of compiling. If you have the headers installed and don't want wrapper support, too bad (for now, see issue #89).

For configuring IP access lists with TCP wrappers, take a look at the files /etc/hosts.allow and /etc/hosts.deny (because the manual pages suck). Use the daemon name "gophernicus" to make your access lists.


Debian (and -based) (including Ubuntu) distributions

We used to distribute a debian/ directory for people to make deb and then install a deb. However, thanks to the work of Ryan Kavanagh, gophernicus will be distributed in the official debian repositories in the next stable release! In the interim, either keep using the old version or install without deb.


Cross-compiling to a different target architecture can be done by defining HOSTCC and CC to be different compilers. HOSTCC must point to a local arch compiler, and CC to the target arch one.

$ export HOSTCC=gcc CC=target-arch-gcc
$ ./configure ....
$ make

Shared memory issues

Gophernicus uses SYSV shared memory for session tracking and statistics. It creates the shared memory block using mode 600 and a predefined key which means that a shared memory block created with one user cannot be used by another user. Simply said, running gophernicus under various different user accounts may create a situation where the memory block is locked to the wrong user.

If that happens you can simply delete the memory block and let Gophernicus recreate it - no harm done:

$ sudo make clean-shm

Porting to different platforms

If you need to port Gophernicus to a new platform, please take a look at gophernicus.h which has a bunch of #define HAVE_... Fiddling with those usually makes it possible to compile a working server. If you succeed in compiling Gophernicus to a new platform please send the patches to so we can include them into the next release -- or even better, commit them to your fork on Github and make a pull request!

For packagers

Are you looking to package gophernicus for a Linux distribution? Thanks! Please see issue #50 to help. Some tips:

  • Hostnames will need to be configured by users at runtime, the installed gophernicus.env will need to be a config file.
  • You probably want to support as many listeners as possible. We allow this through the use of a comma seperated list to --listener.
  • The default gopher root is /var/gopher; many disributions prefer /srv.