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    Thoughts on the Fediverse

    Terrance · Sunday, 21 February - 16:08 · 3 minutes

I've been experimenting with installing and self-hosting several fediverse instances, so I thought I'd post my quick impressions.

Remember that I'm very much not a developer or sysadmin. I'm comfortable in the terminal and can do some slight code tweaking, but that's the extent of my skill set. I'm pretty much your average user in all regards.

Mastodon

Mastodon is the big one, when it comes to the fediverse. It's been featured in quite a few articles over the years as a solid alternative to Twitter and you can find a wide scope of users from every facet of life. There are hundreds upon hundreds of instances that range from tens of thousands of users, to small one-person instances.

Self-hosting is simple as long as you can follow the long and complicated installation, although DigitalOcean does give you the convenience of a one-click install that sets up everything for you. It does require quite a bit of power from your server, so the smaller VPS solutions aren't always going to cut it.

For myself, it was too much effort to try and keep it maintained, especially as it would be an entire instance for just myself.

Pleroma

Pleroma is sleeker and a more cool version of Mastodon, in the sense that it's far more open to hacking and customizing it to your heart's content. It also uses far less resources than Mastodon to run, and it was far simpler to install it.

I did find it far harder to find users to follow, but that could be that the way Pleroma approaches federation is slightly different from Mastodon, so I'm willing to give it some time and see if it sticks.

Hubzilla

Hubzilla is by far the simplest to install. It even works on shared hosting! I've been running my own Hubzilla node for a few weeks now, and I'm constantly learning new things about it. It's far more powerful than I'll ever need, but I'm enjoying tinkering around with it.

I haven't been able to connect with many other users yet, because the directory for connections seems to be flooded with bot accounts and abandoned accounts.

Misskey

Misskey is another micro-blogging network that's similar, and yet very different, from Pleroma and Mastodon. I couldn't come right with the installation and just gave up trying. It does look pretty though.

Movim

Based on the XMPP standard, Movim is centred around sharing articles on Pubsub channels and has chat built in. It's a mash-up of Telegram/WhatsApp/ and Facebook-lite.

I haven't tried hosting this myself, but it's a service I love using and as it's based on XMPP, you can be sure that it's stable and extensible. All you need is a XMPP account, and you're set to go.

WriteFreely

I just installed my own instance of WriteFreely today and as someone who enjoys writing, I fell in love with it immediately. It's very much a stripped down blog system, with the focus being on your words. It's minimalistic, which is exactly what I want when it comes to writing and presenting my work to others out there.

Not only that, but it was relatively simple to set up and should be good for those of you who enjoy writing, both professionally or as a hobby.

Scuttlebutt

Scuttlebutt is the service I've had the least time to dig into. It's an interesting form of an offline Reddit / Facebook network, but that doesn't really do it justice. It can take some time to connect with others, and until you do, your feed will be pretty much empty. It's a good reason to introduce yourself in the #new-people channel and dive into groups that might interest you and connect with people you find interesting.

Conclusion

The fediverse is as strong as ever and there are a multitude of options out there, so it should be easy to find something that suits your taste and use case.

You can self-host and control your data from start to finish, or you can join one of the thousands of available instances out there.

There's definitely no better time than now to try and experiment and find your home in the fediverse.

#scuttlebutt #fediverse #movim #pleroma #writefreely #hubzilla #misskey #mastodon

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    elboncho

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    6 reasons the decentralised Fediverse is better than regular centralised social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc

    Danie van der Merwe · news.movim.eu / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Thursday, 21 January - 11:20

Social media sucks. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are designed to turn your precious free time into money. What we see as a nice way to stay in touch with our friends, in reality are just many hits of dopamine stimulating precise spots in your brain, leading to you spending more time on the platform consuming ads.

But what if I told you that there is a huge ad-free social network out there, not governed by a central authority, full of great people and completely free to use? This place is called the Fediverse. Well, it's not really a place, it's many places.

See the 6 reasons and a good short overview of what the Fediverse is about at https://slashdev.space/posts/2021-01-18-reasons-the-fediverse-is-better

#technology #opensource #fediverse #alternativeto #privacy

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    Lemmy is similar to sites like Reddit, Lobste.rs, or Hacker News but it's open source, it's federated with the Fediverse, and zero lock in

    Danie van der Merwe · news.movim.eu / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Wednesday, 20 January - 19:56

You subscribe to communities you're interested in, post links and discussions, then vote and comment on them. Lemmy isn't just a reddit alternative; its a network of interconnected communities ran by different people and organizations, all combining to create a single, personalized front page of your favorite news, articles, and memes.

Each server can set its own moderation policy, to help foster a healthy environment where all can feel comfortable contributing.

With Lemmy, you can easily host your own server, and all these servers are federated (think email), and connected to the same universe, called the Fediverse. For a link aggregator, this means that someone registered on one server can subscribe to communities elsewhere, and can have discussions with people on a completely different server.

Lemmy is free, open-source software, meaning no advertising, monetizing, or venture capital, ever.

See https://join.lemmy.ml/

#technology #opensource #fediverse #alternativeto #reddit

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    Freedom in the Cloud (ten years later)

    ericbuijs · news.movim.eu / open-source-software · Wednesday, 20 January - 12:59 edit · 2 minutes

After a conversation here on Movim yesterday I again watched the famous speech of Eben Moglen on that Friday night in 2010 at the ISOC-NY. That speech has influenced me greatly. It was the first time that I realised that client-server infrastructure of the internet is a huge problem. This very infrastructure ensured that all the data were aggregated and used (or abused) by the ones that owned the servers. At the same time the clients were being deprived of power. And that with the accumulation of servers in a data centre and he virtualisation of the servers (cloud) these owners were getting even more powerful.

I wasn't the only one that was influenced by this speech of Eben. It also marked the beginning of the development of Diaspora. As it happens some of the initial developers of Diaspora were present at that Friday night at ISOC-NY and it inspired them to build the Diaspora software.

A lot has changed the last ten years, and I will get to that, but what hasn't changed is the client-server infrastructure, the source of evil. If anything the power of ones that own the servers like Facebook, Amazon, Google, Apple and even Twitter has increased greatly. And as a consequence the ones working on the client side have become even more powerless. Snowden (2013) and Cambridge Analytica (2016) are just a few examples that demonstrate that this abuse of the 'architecture of the catastrophe' took directions that we (or I) couldn't have envisioned.

On the plus side since 2010 a lot of developments have started to halt this catastrophe. Some were more successful than other but it's undeniable that if someone is looking for a free (as in freedom) alternative right now a lot more options are available than 10 years ago. Also these options seem to be sustainable and rather successful. The #Fediverse with Mastodon, Pleroma, PeerTube, Funkwhale, Pixelfed, Lemmy and others has made great progress since the introduction of the #ActivityPub protocol. #XMPP has made great progress with the introduction of advanced clients like Conversations, Movim and Gajim.

It appears that #Freedombox hasn't lived up to it's expectations. The development of Freedombox was initiated by Eben and allows to set up a simple private server in your home. The last time I checked even Diaspora was not supported by Freedombox making social networking with it impossible. Luckily other initiatives have taken flight such as #Yunohost. They make it easy to self-host a server and install software for blog, chat, social networking, online storage and file sharing. Yunohost and others bring the dream of Eben closer of a peer-to-peer network instead of a client-server network.

Another noteworthy development is Scuttlebutt, a client-based peer-to-peer application for encrypted social network. Just install the app on your PC or phone (Manyverse) and communicate directly with others that installed the app.

Or Briar, a client for messaging that uses Bluetooth, WiFi and the Tor network to communicate. The need to host your own server has been replaced by simply installing an app that doesn't rely on a central server. Even if the internet is down the information keeps flowing over WiFi and Bluetooth.

Although we still live in the catastrophe that Eben spoke about there are more possibilities to escape and it appears that more and more people are discovering this. With every scandal, every update of the term of service a wave of new users appears on the networks that I mentioned above and that's something to be grateful about but it should also motivate us to keep fighting for a free (as in freedom) internet.

  • Eben Moglen - Freedom In The Cloud (2010)

    Everyone wants a piece of you these days: Google, Facebook, Flickr, Apple, AT&T, Bing. They'll give you free e-mail, free photo storage, free web hosting, even a free date. They just want to listen in. And you can't wait to let them. They'll store your stuff, they'll organize your photos, they'll keep track of your appointments, as long as they can watch. It all goes into the "Cloud" Eben Moglen is a Professor of Law and Legal History at Columbia University and the founding director of the Software Freedom Law Center freedomboxfoundation.org softwarefreedom.org emoglen.law.columbia.edu

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    Danie van der Merwe , jynkoh , Matt , agentcasey , zenterial , Minh Le , Melvin C. McDowell

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  • 21 January ericbuijs

    @LPS thanks for the tip about Jami.

  • 27 January Matt

    Great post... THUMBS UP SIGNI really should check the People feed more often..

  • 27 January ericbuijs

    @Matt Thanks.

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    Fedilab back on the Fediverse

    Matt · Saturday, 16 January - 21:16

The maker of the #Fediverse related apps, including #Fedilab, #Tubelab and UntrackMe has an account again at apps@fedilab.app... Now supported by additional people.

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    Mark , Danie van der Merwe , LPS

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  • 17 January LPS

    This is really great news!

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    A WhatsApp Poll I Ran Showed Way Higher Engagement On Mastodon (Twitter Alternative) Despite Fewer Followers And I Have A Theory

    Danie van der Merwe · news.movim.eu / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Thursday, 14 January - 08:51

On Twitter I have 774 followers after 12 years of use, and on Mastodon I have 538 followers after only 3 or so years. I post the identical posts to both networks at the same time, and respond on both. Yet I see noticeably more engagement, queries, comments, etc on my posts at Mastodon. This poll had 136 votes on Mastodon but only 25 votes on Twitter. It got 12 reshares on Mastodon and 1 on Twitter. Both polls had the same hashtags and #DeleteWhatsApp was very busy on both networks.

My theory is that on Twitter an individual's posts get largely drowned out by adverts and promoted posts, and of course the algorithm that shows "top posts", whereas on Mastodon users only see who they are following giving more visibility to a user posting...

#twitter #mastodon #alternativeto #fediverse

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    Matt , ericbuijs , Danie van der Merwe , Mark

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  • 14 January ericbuijs

    I've never been on Twitter but from what I've seen the difference can also partly be explained by the way people interact with it. Twitter seems to be largely populated with people that use it to only promote themselves and read some news and therefore are not the least interested in any conversation. On the Fosstodon instance where I hang out the number of self-promoters (he look at my awesome video or blog post) is very low and can be considered spam by the moderators. I noticed that people on Fosstodon love interaction.

  • 14 January Danie van der Merwe

    Yes you may have put your finger on it there... just lots of pushing on Twitter.

  • 27 January melmc

    I also find this to be true. I also find more substantive interaction on Mastodon/Pleroma than on walled gardens Gab and Parler.

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    Decentralized Social Networks Report: How Flexibility Deals With Trolls And Scalability In the Fediverse

    Danie van der Merwe · news.movim.eu / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Sunday, 3 January - 11:08

A very interesting report back from some research conducted in 2020 around how Fediverse social networks deal with scalability as well as moderation (or not) of trolling. This is also a must-watch if you don't know much about the Fediverse.

It's very true users migrate either toward instances where you have more rules or fewer rules, and the Fediverse does allow this type of flexibility to accommodate everyone. The video explains how moderation is managed differently on decentralised networks versus large centralised networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

It underlines again you must select your social network instance based on its terms of use as you need to abide by those rules, and can expect moderators to enforce the same rules. If an instance has few rules, then don't expect much moderation on that instance.

Watch at https://youtu.be/yZoASOyfvGQ

#technology #socialnetworks #fediverse #trolling #moderation

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    What is Lemmy

    ericbuijs · news.movim.eu / open-source-software · Thursday, 31 December - 11:36 edit · 1 minute

I've got a confession to make. Since I left Google+ and Reddit two years ago I always missed the community approach of both social networks. Don't get me wrong I love XMPP (or Movim in my case) and Mastodon. I love their ease of use and the possibilities to communicate. I love the ease to set up a chatroom or a microblog in Movim. And I love that they are federated and operate without a giant company behind it that preys on my data. However both on Movim and Mastodon it's hard for me to have a structured conversation around one single topic (e.g. cycling or 3dprinting). It's for that reason that lately I've spend time on Lemmy. Lemmy is easiest described as a federated Reddit alternative. Communities are fundamental for Lemmy. Every post has to be posted in one of the communities. If the community doesn't exist the user can create one themself. Post don't get buried by hundreds of other posts and discussion threads are easy to follow. I'm currently on lemmy.ml which appears to be the most general purpose and the largest server in terms of subscribers but you can run your own server if you want to. The numbers of users of Lemmy is currently growing rapidly but only time will tell what portion of users remain active.

The beauty is that Movim, Mastodon and Lemmy (and all other federated social networks) serve different purposes so I don't have to choose. They can co-exist and enable people to optimize their online social needs.

#lemmy #fediverse

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    SEEK , Timothée Jaussoin , Mark , Mark , jynkoh , Matt

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  • 16 January Danie van der Merwe

    I'm going to have to add Lemmy to my long list to todo's to look at - I also much prefer topic based discussions versus one general stream.

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    21 January jynkoh

    @Danie, I literally just signed up on Movim after finding about it through your youtube channel and I find you in the very first post I read here! SMILING FACE WITH OPEN MOUTH
    I guess it really is the early days of this kind of technology for it to be this easy to come across someone by accident SMILING FACE WITH OPEN MOUTH AND SMILING EYES. Thank you for all those very informative videos on YT! I would have taken a lot more time to find about all these federated apps and networks, if not for you. Keep up the excelent work!