Pleroma

How Federation Works

2 minute read Published:

or: Why is my Federated Timeline empty?

A lot of people join our support channel (#pleroma on freenode) with the same sentence: “I just set up Pleroma but federation isn’t working”. Usually, this is not actually true, they just have an empty timeline. What they don’t know is how posts actually get into your instance. This short post is about the mechanisms that can make a post use your instance.

This is Pleroma specific, other fediverse servers may use different systems, although they are all very similar.

Gopher Support in Pleroma

2 minute read Published:

Un-Bloating the Fediverse

As you may already know, Pleroma is high-performance and low-resource fediverse server mean to run even on small devices like a Raspberry Pi.

Still, there is one part of Pleroma that is wasteful to the extreme…

It’s true! Pleroma’s mother allowed it to have TWO frontends, but both are resource-hogging Javascript monstrosities. If you don’t have a ‘modern’ browser that turns your PC into a heater, you won’t be able to see any posts!

So where did we go wrong? I think the problem goes way back. We made a deal with the Devil when we accepted free-form HTML into our systems. The best solution is to not make this mistake anymore, and go back to the future to a better alternative.

And that’s why, today, I’m announcing Gopher support for Pleroma!

Privacy and Tracking on the Fediverse

6 minute read Published:

How much privacy can you expect on the fediverse

Recently, there have been some shocking revelations. Facebook, a company in the business of selling your data to advertisers, had some of its data used illegally by a third party that used it to advertise to you. As people hate nothing more than getting their data misused without Facebook getting a cut, they are now up in arms and want to leave Facebook once and for all.

Media eye seems to have fallen on the Mastodon network as a solution this time. For an example, look at this Washington Post article, The new technology that aspires to #DeleteFacebook for good (19 trackers on the page, including Facebook), in which they tout it as a privacy-preserving alternative to walled-garden company-run networks.

Mastodon BDFL Gargron himself wrote an article with the nice subtitle Perspective from a platform that doesn’t put democracy in peril. He is privacy conscious, so this page only has two trackers.

(Aside: This article contains the delightful phrase “#DeleteFacebook is trending on Twitter.”)

In all of these articles, Mastodon (and by extension, the Fediverse) are described as a more private and secure way of posting cat pictures and “please subscribe to my patreon” online. But is this actually true? Let’s check the situation on the fediverse.

What Is Pleroma?

5 minute read Published:

An introduction to the Pleroma microblogging server

In my last few posts I talked a bit about Pleroma. Since then, we had a lot of questions about what Pleroma is, how it is different from GNU Social and Mastodon, why you should use it and so on. This post will be an introduction to Pleroma, so read on if you are interested.

ActivityPub in Pleroma

4 minute read Published:

Implementing ActivityPub in Pleroma

After some work, ActivityPub support will be merged into the develop branch of Pleroma in the next days.

This change will add the following user facing features:

  • Support for Mastodon’s visibility suggestion settings, like private posts and direct messages.
  • Slightly faster federation

Not too much for a few weeks of work. Anyway, here are my thoughts about the whole process.

Pleroma Encyclical: ActivityPub

6 minute read Published:

What is ActivityPub and why?

In my free time, I develop a free software social network server called Pleroma (code). It is compatible with GNU Social, Mastodon, Friendica, and any other server that implements the OStatus protocol. Recently, there has been some buzz about a new protocol for federated social networking: ActivityPub. This protocol is now a W3C Recommendation, which means that it’s a kind of ‘standard’, if you care about that sort of thing. Here’s my opinion on it, and how it came to be where it is now.