Open Source Weekly #10 - The Fediverse

Hi everyone 👋

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Did you know

What is the Fediverse?
The Fediverse (a portmanteau of “federation” and “universe”) is a network of platforms whose principal purpose is publishing and sharing content.

Imagine following your favorite youtubers and podcasters directly within your Twitter app. This is one of the many things permitted by the fediverse.

It mainly revolves around ActivityPub, the protocol that enables the many different social networks to communicate.

image alt text

According to this, the Fediverse is decentralized, Twitter is centralized and SSB is distributed

But why?
The idea is to give back to people the control of their social data. When you post on Twitter or Instagram, the content is imprisoned on their platform, the famous “walled gardens”. Your content then becomes accessible only depending on the goodwill of the gatekeepers. Does it respect their policies? Is it good for their advertisers?
For example, Instagram recently pushed a change that forbade people without an account to see the posts (our photos!). Who knows what the future holds when this trick won’t be enough to increase their “user engagement” metrics?

What I really appreciate on the Fediverse is the calm. The interface is not designed for addiction, the feed is not algorithmically sorted, the people are not crying for attention. This is what I expect when interacting with humans.


Projects

Mastodon (AGPL 3.0)
Maybe the most famous Fediverse platform.
Think Twitter in the Fediverse.

PeerTube (AGPL 3.0)
ActivityPub-federated video streaming platform.
Think YouTube in the Fediverse.

Pixelfed (AGPL 3.0)
A free and ethical photo sharing platform, powered by ActivityPub federation.
Think instagram in the Fediverse.

Funkwhale (AGPL 3.0)
Funkwhale is a community-driven project that lets you listen and share music and audio within a decentralized, open network.
Think SoundCloud in the Fediverse.

Lemmy (AGPL 3.0)
A federated link aggregator.
Think Reddit in the fediverse.

WriteFreely (AGPL 3.0)
WriteFreely is free and open source software for building a writing space on the web — whether a publication, internal blog, or writing community in the fediverse.
Think Medium in the fediverse.

Fedilab (GPL 3.0)
Fedilab allows you to interact with multiple Fediverse platform from only one app. Imagine all your feeds from all your different social networks combined.

Wordpress-activitypub (MIT)
A plugin which implements the ActivityPub protocol for your blog. Your readers will be able to follow your blogposts on Mastodon and other federated platforms that support ActivityPub.
Why rebuilding everything from scratch when just a plugin suffices?

Toot (GPL 3.0)
A Mastodon CLI and TUI client.

Plume (AGPL 3.0)
Plume is a federated blogging engine, based on ActivityPub.

Tusky (GPL 3.0)
Tusky is a beautiful Android client for Mastodon.


Hosted Mastodon

MastoHost
(disclaimer: I’m not paid to write this, I was just an extremely happy customer)

Do you want to have your own mastodon instance, for example to use your own vanity domain and appear as john@smith.com on the network, or to have your own internal and private social network for your company?
I can’t recommend enough masto.host, a Mastodon hosting service, run by a single, very competent, person. The customer support is awesome!


Hardware

MakAir (Public domain)
Mass-producible open-source Covid-19 ARDS ventilator. Aims at helping hospitals cope with a possible shortage of professional ventilators during the outbreak.
An initiative by french entrepreneurs, doctors, universities, engineers and companies. Their goal is to make an open source, reproductible, regulatory compliant ventilator costing less than 500€ to produce.

🐓 🇫🇷


Articles

The Federation Fallacy
According to the data, only 3 instances encompass 50.8% of users. So in reality, decentralized systems are centralized.

I think the author misses the point: decentralization is about choice. Choice to host your own data or delegate to a trusted party, not to have to follow the rules of a single company, with a single culture and within a single jurisdiction (feodalism).

ActivityPub, the secret weapon of the Fediverse
How a protocol enables cooperation between platforms and empowers users.

SSH Support in Pleroma
Pleroma is another famous Fediverse server. Not satisfied with providing a web interface, they also provide an SSH interface. This is CLI in the cloud streaming era.

An Introduction to the Federated Social Network
The best way for online social networking to become safer, more flexible, and more innovative is to distribute the ability and authority to the world’s users and developers, whose various needs and imaginations can do far more than what any single company could achieve.

Fediverse.party
A website regrouping data and information about the Fediverse in a very user friendly way.

Mastodon and the challenges of abuse in a federated system
One of the goals of decentralized systems is to prevent censorship. It’s also a pitfall.

The ecosystem is moving
Another critic of the federated model by the creator of the awesome Signal app.
TL;DR: due to their intrinsic distributed nature, federated networks are too slow to evolve and adapt to the fast moving trends.


Stay safe ✌️
Sylvain

I’ll write you once a week on open source, sustainability and avoiding complexity.
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