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The fediverse (a portmanteau of "federation" and "universe") is an ensemble of federated (i.e. interconnected) servers that are used for web publishing (i.e. social networking, microblogging, blogging, or websites) and file hosting, but which, while independently hosted, can communicate with each other. On different servers (technically instances), users can create so-called identities. These identities are able to communicate over the boundaries of the instances because the software running on the servers supports one or more communication protocols that follow an open standard.[1] As an identity on the fediverse, users are able to post text and other media, or to follow posts by other identities.[2] In some cases, users can show or share data (video, audio, text, and other files) publicly or to a selected group of identities, and allow other identities to edit other users' data (such as a calendar or an address book).


In 2008, the social network identi.ca was founded by Evan Prodromou. He published the software GNU social under a free license (GNU Affero General Public License, AGPL). It defined the OStatus protocol. Besides the server, identi.ca, there were few other instances, run by persons for their own use. This changed in 2011–12 when identi.ca switched to another software called pump.io.[citation needed] Several new GNU social instances were created. At the same time as GNU social, other projects like Friendica, Hubzilla,[3] Mastodon, and Pleroma integrated the OStatus protocol, thus extending the fediverse[citation needed] (though Mastodon and Pleroma have since dropped OStatus[4][5] in favor of ActivityPub). In the meantime, other communication protocols evolved which were integrated to different degrees into the software packages.

In January 2018, the W3C presented the ActivityPub protocol, aiming to improve the interoperability between the different software packages run on a wide network of servers. As of August 2018, this protocol was supported by thirteen software packages (see table below), and was the dominant protocol used in the Fediverse.

Communication protocols used in the fediverse[edit]

Excerpt of common protocols and platforms in Fediverse (2022)

These communication protocols, which implement open standards, are used in the fediverse:

Fediverse software packages[edit]

The various platforms of the Fediverse, as well as other federated networks, visualised as a tree

The software packages used in the fediverse are FOSS. Some of them vaguely resemble Twitter in style (for example, Mastodon, Misskey, GNU social, and Pleroma, which are similar in their microblogging function), while others include more communication and transaction options that are instead comparable to Google+ or Facebook (such as is the case with Friendica and Hubzilla).

The following software packages span the fediverse by using the listed communication protocols:

Software Name Type ActivityPub Diaspora
OStatus Zot
Aardwolf-Social[9] Social network Yes No Yes No
Anfora Image hosting In progress[10] No No No
BookWyrm[11] Book cataloguing Yes No Yes No
Calckey[12] Social network, Microblogging Yes No No No
Castopod Podcasting Yes[13] No No No
diaspora* (software) Social network, Microblogging No[14][15] Yes No No
distbin Pastebin Yes No No No
Drupal Blogging, CMS, Image gallery, File hosting, Microblogging, Social network, Website Yes[16] Yes[17] In progress[18] No
Epicyon Social network, Microblogging Yes No No No
(f. Friendika; orig. Mistpark)
Social network, Macroblogging, Blogging, Image gallery, Event Planner, Groups Yes Yes Yes No
Funkwhale[19] Audio, sound hosting Yes No No No
Gancio Event aggregator Yes No No No
GNU MediaGoblin file, image, audio, video hosting Proposed[20] No No No
GNU social
(f. StatusNet; orig. Laconica)
Macroblogging Yes[21] No Yes No
GoToSocial[22] Social network, Microblogging Yes No No No
Guppe Groups Yes[23] No No No
Honk Social network Yes No No No
(f. RedMatrix; orig. Friendica-Red)
CMS, Social network, Macroblogging, Wiki, Blogging, Image gallery, File hosting Yes Yes Yes[3] Yes
Inventaire Book cataloguing, reviewing and exchanging Yes[24] No No No
Kibou Social network, Microblogging Yes No No No
Lemmy[25] Link Aggregator, Social Network Yes No No No
Libervia Instant Messaging, Microblogging, Blogging, File sharing, Event management Yes[26] No No No
Littr.me Link Aggregator, Social Network In progress No No No
lotide[27] Link Aggregator, Social Network Yes No No No
takahē[28] Social network, Microblogging Yes No No No
Mastodon Microblogging Yes[29] No Dropped[4] No
Micro.blog[30] Microblogging Blogging Photoblogging Podcasting Yes[31] No No No
microblog.pub Microblogging Yes No No No
Misskey[32] Social network, Microblogging Yes No No No
Mobilizon Event and group management Yes No No No
Nextcloud Social File hosting Yes[33] No No No
OStatus[34] Social network, Microblogging Yes No Yes No
OLKi[35] File/dataset hosting Yes No No No
Owncast[36] Live video streaming Yes No No No
PeerPx Image hosting Yes No No No
PeerTube Video hosting Yes No No No
Pixelfed[37] Image hosting Yes[38] No No No
Pleroma[39] Microblogging Yes No Dropped[5] No
Plume[40] Blogging Yes No No No
Prismo Link-sharing Yes No No No
Pubcast (f. Metapods) Netcasting Yes No No No
pump.io Microblogging Proposed[41] No Dropped[42] No
Read.as Feed reader Yes[43] No No No
Socialhome Website, Social network, Microblogging, Blog Yes Yes No Proposed[44]
Streams[45] Social network, Macroblogging, Wiki, Blogging, Image gallery Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tumblr Social network, Microblogging, Blog In progress[46] No No No
WordPress Blogging Yes[47] Yes[48] Yes[49] No
Write.as / WriteFreely Blogging Yes No No No
Zap Social network, Macroblogging, Image gallery, File hosting Yes No No Zot/6

User statistics[edit]

A number of developers publish live statistics about the fediverse on monitoring sites[50] like the-federation.info.[51] The statistics on these sites are an indication of usage levels, not a complete record, as they can only aggregate data from instances that use the NodeInfo protocol to publish usage statistics. There is no guarantee that all instances are known to these sites, and some instances may disable NodeInfo, or use software that hasn't implemented it. Some of these sites include data from any federated software that publishes it using NodeInfo, not just fediverse software.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Fed FAQ". Mastodon User Guide. Archived from the original on 2017-04-09.
  2. ^ "What on Earth is the fediverse and why does it matter?". New Atlas. 18 September 2018.
  3. ^ a b "gnusoc · master / addons". Hubzilla. Framagit. Retrieved 2018-07-17.
  4. ^ a b Mastodon. "Release v3.0.0". GitHub. Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  5. ^ a b Pleroma. "ostatus removal". Retrieved 2019-12-29.
  6. ^ Macgirvin, Michael ‘Mike’. "Zot/6". Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  7. ^ "Zot Protocol". Hubzilla. Archived from the original on 2018-08-18. Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  8. ^ "zotlabs.org". Retrieved 2021-10-29.
  9. ^ Aardwolf-Social. "Aardwolf-Social". Aardwolf-Social (GitHub). Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  10. ^ "Implement mastodon API endpoints #23". Anfora. Git hub. Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  11. ^ bookwyrm. "Bookwyrm". Retrieved 2021-05-26.
  12. ^ "Calckey". Retrieved 2022-11-09.
  13. ^ "Castopod features". Retrieved 2022-11-07.
  14. ^ diaspora*. "Support ActivityPub #7422". GitHub. Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  15. ^ diaspora* (13 May 2017). "Let's talk about ActivityPub". Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  16. ^ Kristof, De Jaeger (swentel) (2019-02-23). "ActivityPub". Drupal.org. Archived from the original on 2022-03-06. Retrieved 2022-03-06.
  17. ^ Jason, Chambers (rurri) (2012-03-02). "Diaspora Pod". Drupal.org. Archived from the original on 2022-03-06. Retrieved 2022-03-06.
  18. ^ Stefan, Auditor (sanduhrs) (2011-04-19). "OStatus". Drupal.org. Archived from the original on 2022-03-06. Retrieved 2022-03-06.
  19. ^ funkwhale. "Funkwhale". Retrieved 2019-05-02.
  20. ^ GNU MediaGoblin. "Move federation code to ActivityPub spec #5503". Archived from the original on 2017-04-11. Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  21. ^ GNU social. "Milestone: ActivityPub - GNU Social v3". Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  22. ^ "GoToSocial". GitHub. Retrieved 2022-12-27.
  23. ^ immers-space. "Decentralized social groups for ActivityPub". GitHub. Retrieved 2022-11-22.
  24. ^ "Inventaire toot". mamot.fr. 2021-12-07. Archived from the original on 2022-08-28. Retrieved 2022-10-17.
  25. ^ "join-lemmy.org". Retrieved 2021-07-12.
  26. ^ "Libervia progress note 2022-W45". salut-a-toi.org. November 2022.
  27. ^ "lotide". Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  28. ^ "takahē". Retrieved 2022-12-27.
  29. ^ Mastodon. "ActivityPub support #1557". GitHub. Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  30. ^ "Micro.blog". micro.blog. Retrieved 2022-12-19.
  31. ^ micro.blog. "Mastodon and ActivityPub". micro.blog. Retrieved 2022-12-19.
  32. ^ "Misskey". Retrieved 2019-05-02.
  33. ^ Nextcloud. "Nextcloud introduces social features, joins the fediverse". Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  34. ^ ostatus. "OStatus". Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  35. ^ "olki". Retrieved 2020-10-23.
  36. ^ "Owncast v0.0.11". 2022-03-05.
  37. ^ Pixelfed. "Pixelfed". Retrieved 2019-05-02.
  38. ^ Pixelfed (25 December 2018). "Pixelfed federates now". Retrieved 2018-12-31.
  39. ^ "Pleroma — a lightweight fediverse server". Pleroma. Retrieved 2023-01-22.
  40. ^ joinplu.me. "Plume". Retrieved 2019-05-02.
  41. ^ pump.io. "ActivityPub support #1241". GitHub. Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  42. ^ pump.io. "OStatus #8". GitHub. Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  43. ^ Read.as. "Long-form ActivityPub-enabled reader". GitHub. Retrieved 2018-08-29.
  44. ^ Robinson, Jason (May 19, 2018). "Implementing Zot".
  45. ^ "streams". codeberg.org. Retrieved November 2, 2022.
  46. ^ Perez, Sarah (2022-11-21). "Tumblr to add support for ActivityPub, the social protocol powering Mastodon and other apps". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2022-11-21.
  47. ^ Pfefferle, Matthias. "ActivityPub – WordPress plugin | WordPress.org". Retrieved 2022-11-28.
  48. ^ wordpress.org. "Plugins categorized as diaspora | WordPress.org". Retrieved 2022-11-28.
  49. ^ Pfefferle, Matthias. "OStatus – WordPress plugin | WordPress.org". Retrieved 2022-11-28.
  50. ^ "Instance monitoring sites · Wiki · Feneas / Fediverse Party". git.feneas.org.
  51. ^ "The Federation - a statistics hub". the-federation.info. Retrieved November 2, 2022.

Further reading[edit]