Meanwhile, for those of you using the Gopher enabler add-on OverbiteFF on Firefox, its successor is on the way for the Firefox self-inflicted add-on apocalypse: OverbiteWX. OverbiteWX requires Firefox 56 or higher and implements an internal protocol handler that redirects gopher:// URLs typed in the Firefox omnibox or clicked on to the Floodgap Public Gopher Proxy. The reason I've decided to create a new one instead of uploading a "WebExtensions-compatible" version is because, frankly, right now it's impossible. Because there is still no TCP socket API in WebExtensions, there is presently no way to implement a Gopher handler except via a web proxy, and this would be unexpected behaviour to an OverbiteFF user expecting a direct connection (which implemented a true nsIChannel to make the protocol once again a first class citizen in the browser). Since this means Gopher URLs you access are now being sent through an external service, albeit a benign one I run, I think you at least should opt in to that by affirmatively getting the new extension rather than being silently "upgraded" to a new version with (despite my best efforts) rather less functionality.
The extension is designed to be forward compatible so that in the near future you can select from your choice of proxies, and eventually, once Someone(tm) writes the API, true socket access directly to the Gopher server of your choice. It won't be as nice as OverbiteFF was, but given that WebExtensions' first and most important goal is to reduce what add-on authors can do to the browser, it may be as good as we get. A prototype is available from the Floodgap Gopher server, which, if you care about Gopher, you already can access (please note that this URL is temporary). Assuming no issues, a more fully-fledged version with a bit more window dressing should be available in AMO hopefully sometime next week.
TenFourFox users, never fear; OverbiteFF remains compatible. I've also been approached about a Pale Moon version and I'm looking into it.
For those of you following my previous posts on the Raptor Talos II, the next-generation POWER9 workstation with a fully-open-source stack from the firmware to the operating system and no x86 anywhere, you'll recall that orders are scheduled for fulfillment starting in Q4 2017. And we're in Q4. Even though I think it's a stellar package given what you get, it hasn't gotten any cheaper, so if you've got your money together or you've at least got a little headroom on the credit card it's time to fish or cut bait. Raptor may still take orders after this batch starts shipping, but at best you'll have a long wait for their next production run (if there is one), and at worst you might not get to order at all. Let Raptor know there is a lasting and willing market for an alternative architecture you fully control. This machine really is the best successor to the Power Mac. When mine arrives you'll see it first.
Last but not least, Microsoft is announcing their Edge browser for iOS and Android. "Cool," sez I, owner of a Pixel XL, "another choice of layout engines on Android" (I use Android Firefox, natch); I was rather looking forward to seeing the desktop Edge layout engine running on non-Microsoft phones. Well, no, it's just a shell over Blink and Chromium. Remember a few years ago when I said Blink would eat the Web? Through attrition and now, arguably, collusion, that's exactly what's happening.