This document will go over the very basics of how to use Bombadillo.

Looking for installation instructions? They can be found on the home page.

Getting Help

Bombadillo is distributed with a man file, typically accessed using the following command:

man bombadillo

If that does not come up with anything, you should be able to run the following from within the root folder of the source code repository:

man ./bombadillo.1

If you downloaded a zip file of the executable, you should be able to run the above command from wherever you extracted that zip file to.

Within Bombadillo, you can view this help document by pressing space and entering help at the prompt. Alternately, you can ask for information about a command by pressing space and entering help followed by the command. For example: help add.

Basic Operation

This information covers the simplest use cases for getting around, but should get you going. Refer to the man page for full detail.

Starting Bombadillo

Bombadillo can be launched using the following command (assuming the binary has been placed on your $PATH):


You can also append a URL to the end of the command, and Bombadillo will attempt to navigate directly to the specified location:

bombadillo gopher://colorfield.space

Entering commands

When Bombadillo is running, the space bar will enter you into command mode at almost any occasion. From command mode you can enter a url to navigate to. You can also follow a link by entering a number as shown in the document being displayed. When you’re done using Bombadillo, enter quit to close the application.


When not in command mode you can get around with "hot keys":

Following links

When you’re viewing a document, most of the time when a number is shown on the left side of the screen you can press space and enter the number to follow that link. Bombadillo supports a variety of different protocols; some, like HTTP, must be enabled through configuration options like webmode. Review the man page for more information.

Recent versions of Bombadillo support a style of quick linking: the first ten links on a page can be navigated to via the number keys on your keyboard without entering command mode (they work as "hot keys"), with 0 representing 10.

Managing bookmarks

Bookmarks allow you to store links to different URLs for future reference.

Pressing shift + b toggles the bookmarks bar, showing a list of stored bookmarks.

The commands add and delete can be used to manage bookmarks.

To add a bookmark for the link numbered 3 and title it My bookmark you would enter:

:add 3 My bookmark

To add the current page you can use . instead of the link number. Entering a URL instead of . or the link number is also acceptable. Any text following these options will be used as the title.

To delete a bookmark you use the delete command along with the bookmark's number:

:delete 5

Notes on privacy

Bombadillo stores bookmarks, your configuration settings, and hashed certificates for Gemini sites (used for secure connections to those sites). None of this information is shared or transmitted at any time.

If, in your settings, you have an address to a local client certificate; that certificate WILL be sent to Gemini servers upon request. Note: Client certificate support has been removed from newer versions of Bombadillo, so this may not apply to you.

Without exception you, the user, have control of this data. It all resides in a file named .bombadillo.ini, which is stored in the directory specified by the setting configlocation (use the command check configlocation if you aren't sure where this is). All of this data can be updated and edited from within Bombadillo itself. However, you may also edit it directly if the need arises (but be careful). You can return to a fresh install state (from a configuration and data standpoint) by deleting this file.

Given the relative simplicity of gopher, gemini, and finger, especially in comparison to the web, a user should be able to expect that no network requests are ever made that they themselves have not explicitly requested. Gemini does support redirects, but a user will always be asked whether or not they want to follow a redirect. The one excpetion being where the only difference between the redirect URL and the requested URL is the addition of a / to the end of the URL; that redirect will be automatically followed.

Following HTTP and HTTPS links is disabled by default. If you do enable this functionality, there are some important considerations to make:

Links To Places Near and Far

Further help

If you need further help with Bombadillo, have an issue to report, or have other feedback please do so via the issues page on our source code repository at https://tildegit.org/sloum/bombadillo