The Mac Orchard - HomeHelpFAQALEMIAForumsDrew's Picks

Older Protocols

Yes, most of these programs are ancient. But Gopher, WAIS and VRML - while not widely used anymore - are still completely valid protocols that some people use (or might be interested in, for historical reasons). And as long as some people use them and the applications remain available, there will be a place on the Orchard for these tools. (Hint: give TurboGopher a spin to find some neat archives of older software and information that is basically impossible to find on the Web. You'll be surprised . . . even in the 21st century!)


Home Page Release Notes Screen Shots License:
Open source; $0

Current Version: 20060520 (May 22, 2006)

Carina is an application written in C++ for viewing various 3D graphic file formats. While focusing on the xVRML file format, Carina also supports the X3D and VRML97 formats. Since Carina is still in development, a list of the currently supported parts of the formats is available at the web site.

Mostly for viewing files, it also contains some debug support to help people creating xVRML content. Carina can save any file it can open as xVRML. Carina is available as a binary download for Windows and OS X, and as source code for Linux. Carina is free and open-source software released under the GPL.

(xVRML is an XML-based virtual reality language. Classroom testing has shown that new users who are already familiar with HTML code can become proficient in xVRML with just a few weeks of study and practice. Documentation and example files for xVRML can be found at

Version 20060520 adds/changes the following:

  • New VRML97/X3D Classic parser
  • Saving files saves all inlines and images into separate directory
  • Compressed files loaded with transformations (like X3D) no longer need a separate decompression stage (faster)
  • Ability for users to add XML transformations (XSLT) to import other file formats
  • Update to Qt 4.1.2
  • Added a bookmark manager
  • Main window and bookmark manager window save window positions and sizes
  • Better handling of international characters in filenames
  • Linux: Switch back to autotools build system
  • Linux: Return of command line conversion utility
  • Linux: Command line conversion utility now supports inlines, images, and remote files
  • Mac: Universal binary (Runs on both older PPC based Macs and newer Intel based ones)
  • Bugfix: Saving of empty node names fixed
  • Bugfix: Saving of Viewpoints now adds name if none supplied on VRML import

User Reviews

Currently, no user reviews have been submitted. Send me yours!


Current Version: 1.1b3r2 (April 3, 1995)

GopherSurfer is a Gopher server from the University of Minnesota - the same team that brought us not only TurboGopher, but the Gopher protocol as well.



Final Version: 0.5b14

MacGopher is a somewhat dated Gopher client that uses a two-paned interface. It is neither as fast nor as feature-filled as TurboGopher, but it's worth a try if, for some strange reason, you don't like TurboGopher.


Home Page

Current Version: 0.9.5

From the MacLookat home page: "MacLookat is a VRML 97 viewer for the Mac OS by Michael Louka. It can be used to view, and interact with, 3D objects and virtual worlds defined using the VRML file format. It supports most of the ISO VRML97 standard, including almost complete support for the JavaScript scripting interface and is therefore capable of displaying most interactive, animated, VRML content." MacLookat requires a PowerPC with Mac OS 8.1 or later and Apple OpenGL (InternetConfig 2.x is required for Mac OS 8.1). Version 0.9.5 addresses the following:

  • Uses latest OpenVRML 0.10.0 library
  • Removed dependency on DriverServicesLib (which requires a PCI Mac)
  • Increased default window size at startup so it now fits nicely on the screen if the screen resolution is set to 640x480.

Download the Power Mac version.

Version 0.96a is now available. This version is linked with a modified version of Apple's latest OpenGL GLUT 3.7 implementation. GLUT 3.7 should give more stable OpenGL support than the older version, but there are still a couple of minor bugs that the author needs to iron out before he can say that it is OK (the main problem/quirk is with focus when a user opens a VRML file from the Finder, as MacLookat 0.9.6a doesn't come to the front and needs to be clicked on for it to 'wake up' after the user has double-clicked on a VRML file).


Final Version: 1.29

As interest in WAIS seems to be a thing of the past, there's no point in recommending any tool other than this one. It's good at what it does, but most WAIS services today are being handled on the Web.


Final Version: 2.0.3

TurboGopher is one of the fastest, most powerful Gopher clients available on any platform, from the very people who created Gophering. It's multithreaded, and comes with a copy of Thread Manager 2.1 just in case you need it. There are other gopher programs out there, but they all stopped being developed a long time ago. TurboGopher is really the only viable choice--and that's not a bad thing!

User Reviews

"TurboGopher is a delightful and fast application for exploring gopherspace (much faster than webbing!) The interface is self-explanatory, and I find the bookmark workbook particularly useful."
—G. Vinton Palazzolo

TurboGopher VR

Final Version: 2.1 alpha 4

TurboGopher VR was a grand experiment to provide a virtual reality interface for gophering. Probably frozen forever in this 2.1a4 alpha release, this program is nonetheless worth a look for the sheer novelty. It works on all Macs, but a PowerMac or a Mac with an FPU is highly recommended.

Also See . . .

Can't find what you're looking for? Try a search:

Also, if you have an older Mac, be sure to check out the "Classic" applications page for more options.

Finally, take a look at ALEMIA if you think you know that name of an application, but aren't quite sure.

Related Links

The MacWeb3D web site is an invaluable resource for all things relating to 3D/VRML worlds on the Macintosh. Member Stephen Guynup was instrumental in obtaining much of the VRML-related information on the Orchard.

In March 2007, Cameron Kaiser from TidBITS posted a great article on the state of gopher in our modern world. Check it out!