A GNU Social-compatible microblogging server
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yiskah and Gargron Request documentation (tootsuite#1616)
This addition to the submission guidelines requests that contributors remember to document their code. It's not a hard fast rule just a reminder.
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README.md

Mastodon

Build Status Code Climate

Mastodon is a free, open-source social network server. A decentralized solution to commercial platforms, it avoids the risks of a single company monopolizing your communication. Anyone can run Mastodon and participate in the social network seamlessly.

An alternative implementation of the GNU social project. Based on ActivityStreams, Webfinger, PubsubHubbub and Salmon.

Click on the screenshot to watch a demo of the UI:

Screenshot

The project focus is a clean REST API and a good user interface. Ruby on Rails is used for the back-end, while React.js and Redux are used for the dynamic front-end. A static front-end for public resources (profiles and statuses) is also provided.

If you would like, you can support the development of this project on Patreon. Alternatively, you can donate to this BTC address: 17j2g7vpgHhLuXhN4bueZFCvdxxieyRVWd

Resources

Features

  • Fully interoperable with GNU social and any OStatus platform Whatever implements Atom feeds, ActivityStreams, Salmon, PubSubHubbub and Webfinger is part of the network
  • Real-time timeline updates See the updates of people you're following appear in real-time in the UI via WebSockets
  • Federated thread resolving If someone you follow replies to a user unknown to the server, the server fetches the full thread so you can view it without leaving the UI
  • Media attachments like images and WebM Upload and view images and WebM videos attached to the updates
  • OAuth2 and a straightforward REST API Mastodon acts as an OAuth2 provider so 3rd party apps can use the API, which is RESTful and simple
  • Background processing for long-running tasks Mastodon tries to be as fast and responsive as possible, so all long-running tasks that can be delegated to background processing, are
  • Deployable via Docker You don't need to mess with dependencies and configuration if you want to try Mastodon, if you have Docker and Docker Compose the deployment is extremely easy

Configuration

  • LOCAL_DOMAIN should be the domain/hostname of your instance. This is absolutely required as it is used for generating unique IDs for everything federation-related
  • LOCAL_HTTPS set it to true if HTTPS works on your website. This is used to generate canonical URLs, which is also important when generating and parsing federation-related IDs

Consult the example configuration file, .env.production.sample for the full list. Among other things you need to set details for the SMTP server you are going to use.

Requirements

  • Ruby
  • Node.js
  • PostgreSQL
  • Redis
  • Nginx

Running with Docker and Docker-Compose

The project now includes a Dockerfile and a docker-compose.yml file (which requires at least docker-compose version 1.10.0).

Review the settings in docker-compose.yml. Note that it is not default to store the postgresql database and redis databases in a persistent storage location, so you may need or want to adjust the settings there.

Before running the first time, you need to build the images: docker-compose build

Then, you need to fill in the .env.production file: cp .env.production.sample .env.production vi .env.production

Do NOT change the REDIS_* or DB_* settings when running with the default docker configurations.

You will need to fill in, at least: LOCAL_DOMAIN, LOCAL_HTTPS, PAPERCLIP_SECRET, SECRET_KEY_BASE, OTP_SECRET, and the SMTP_* settings. To generate the PAPERCLIP_SECRET, SECRET_KEY_BASE, and OTP_SECRET, you may use:

docker-compose run --rm web rake secret

Do this once for each of those keys, and copy the result into the .env.production file in
the appropriate field.

Then you should run the db:migrate command to create the database, or migrate it from an older release:

docker-compose run --rm web rails db:migrate

Then, you will also need to precompile the assets:

docker-compose run --rm web rails assets:precompile

before you can launch the docker image with:

docker-compose up

If you wish to run this as a daemon process instead of monitoring it on console, use instead:

docker-compose up -d

Then you may login to your new Mastodon instance by browsing to http(s)://(yourhost):3000/

Following that, make sure that you read the production guide. You are probably going to want to understand how to configure NGINX to make your Mastodon instance available to the rest of the world.

The container has two volumes, for the assets and for user uploads, and optionally two more, for the postgresql and redis databases.

The default docker-compose.yml maps them to the repository's public/assets and public/system directories, you may wish to put them somewhere else. Likewise, the PostgreSQL and Redis images have data containers that you may wish to map somewhere where you know how to find them and back them up.

Note: The --rm option for docker-compose will remove the container that is created to run a one-off command after it completes. As data is stored in volumes it is not affected by that container clean-up.

Tasks

  • rake mastodon:media:clear removes uploads that have not been attached to any status after a while, you would want to run this from a periodic cronjob
  • rake mastodon:push:clear unsubscribes from PuSH notifications for remote users that have no local followers. You may not want to actually do that, to keep a fuller footprint of the fediverse or in case your users will soon re-follow
  • rake mastodon:push:refresh re-subscribes PuSH for expiring remote users, this should be run periodically from a cronjob and quite often as the expiration time depends on the particular hub of the remote user
  • rake mastodon:feeds:clear_all removes all timelines, which forces them to be re-built on the fly next time a user tries to fetch their home/mentions timeline. Only for troubleshooting
  • rake mastodon:feeds:clear removes timelines of users who haven't signed in lately, which allows to save RAM and improve message distribution. This is required to be run periodically so that when they login again the regeneration process will trigger

Running any of these tasks via docker-compose would look like this:

docker-compose run --rm web rake mastodon:media:clear

Updating

This approach makes updating to the latest version a real breeze.

git pull

To pull down the updates, re-run

docker-compose build

And finally,

docker-compose up -d

Which will re-create the updated containers, leaving databases and data as is. Depending on what files have been updated, you might need to re-run migrations and asset compilation.

Deployment without Docker

Docker is great for quickly trying out software, but it has its drawbacks too. If you prefer to run Mastodon without using Docker, refer to the production guide for examples, configuration and instructions.

Deployment on Scalingo

Deploy on Scalingo

You can view a guide for deployment on Scalingo here.

Deployment on Heroku (experimental)

Deploy

Mastodon can theoretically run indefinitely on a free Heroku app. You can view a guide for deployment on Heroku here.

Development with Vagrant

A quick way to get a development environment up and running is with Vagrant. You will need recent versions of Vagrant and VirtualBox installed.

You can find the guide for setting up a Vagrant development environment here.

Contributing

You can open issues for bugs you've found or features you think are missing. You can also submit pull requests to this repository. Here are the guidelines for code contributions

IRC channel: #mastodon on irc.freenode.net

Extra credits

  • The Emoji One pack has been used for the emojis
  • The error page image courtesy of Dopatwo

Mastodon error image