Distributed and contextual social networking
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Commit Guidlines

You are welcome to contribute, add and extend Diaspora however you see fit. We will do our best to incorporate everything that meets our guidelines.

All commits must be tested, and after each commit, all tests should be green before a pull request is sent. Please write your tests in Rspec or Test-Unit.

GEMS: We would like to keep external dependencies unduplicated. We're using Nokogiri, and Mongomapper, and EM::HttpRequest as much as possible. We have a few gems in the project we'd rather not use, but if you can, use dependencies we already have.


The privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all, open source social network.

DISCLAIMER: THIS IS PRE-ALPHA SOFTWARE AND SHOULD BE TREATED ACCORDINGLY. These instructions are for machines running Ubuntu or Mac OS X. We are developing Diaspora for the latest and greatest browsers, so please update your Firefox, Chrome or Safari to the latest and greatest.

Preparing your system

In order to run Diaspora, you will need to download the following dependencies (specific instructions follow):

  • Build Tools - Packages needed to compile the components that follow.
  • Ruby - The Ruby programming language. (We're using 1.8.7. It comes preinstalled on Mac OS X.)
  • MongoDB - A snappy noSQL database.
  • OpenSSL - An encryption library. (It comes preinstalled on Mac OS X and Ubuntu.)
  • ImageMagick - An Image processing library used to resize uploaded photos.
  • Git - The fast version control system.

After you have Ruby installed on your system, you will need to get RubyGems, then install Bundler:

  • RubyGems - Source for Ruby gems.
  • Bundler - Gem management tool for Ruby projects.

We suggest using a package management system to download these dependencies. Trust us, it's going to make your life a lot easier. If you're using Mac OS X, you can use homebrew; and if you're using Ubuntu, just use Synaptic (it comes pre-installed). The instructions below assume you have these installed.

Build Tools

To install build tools on Ubuntu, run the following (includes the gcc and xml parsing dependencies):

	sudo apt-get install build-essential libxslt1.1 libxslt1-dev libxml2

To install build tools on Mac OS X, you need to download and install Xcode.


To install Ruby 1.8.7 on Ubuntu, run the following command:

	sudo apt-get install ruby-full

If you're on Mac OS X, you already have Ruby on your system. Yay!


To install MongoDB on Ubuntu, add the official MongoDB repository from this link:


For Lucid, add the following line to your /etc/apt/sources.list:

	deb http://downloads.mongodb.org/distros/ubuntu 10.4 10gen

And then run: sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv 7F0CEB10 sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install mongodb-stable

You can also run the binary directly by doing the following:

If you're running a 32-bit system, run wget http://fastdl.mongodb.org/linux/mongodb-linux-i686-1.6.2.tgz. If you're running a 64-bit system, run wget http://fastdl.mongodb.org/linux/mongodb-linux-x86_64-1.6.2.tgz.

	# extract
	tar xzf mongodb-linux-i686-1.4.0.tgz
	# create the required data directory
	sudo mkdir -p /data/db
	sudo chmod -Rv 777 /data/

To install MongoDB on Mac OS X, run the following:

	brew install mongo


If you're running either Ubuntu or Mac OS X you already have OpenSSL installed!


To install ImageMagick on Ubuntu, run the following:

	sudo apt-get install imagemagick libmagick9-dev

To install ImageMagick on Mac OS X, run the following:

	brew install imagemagick


To install Git on Ubuntu, run the following:

	sudo apt-get install git-core

To install Git on Mac OS X, run the following:

	brew install git


On Ubuntu, run the following:

	wget http://production.cf.rubygems.org/rubygems/rubygems-1.3.7.tgz
	tar -xf rubygems-1.3.7.tgz
	cd rubygems-1.3.7
	sudo ruby setup.rb
	sudo ln -s /usr/bin/gem1.8 /usr/bin/gem

On Mac OS X, RubyGems comes preinstalled; however, you might need to update it for use with the latest Bundler. To update RubyGems, run sudo gem update --system.


After RubyGems is updated, simply run sudo gem install bundler to get Bundler.

Getting Diaspora

	git clone http://github.com/diaspora/diaspora.git

If you have never used github before, their help desk has a pretty awesome guide on getting setup.

Running Diaspora

Install required gems

To start the app server for the first time, you need to use Bundler to install Diaspora's gem depencencies. Run bundle install from Diaspora's root directory. Bundler will also warn you if there is a new dependency and you need to bundle install again.

Start Mongo

If you installed the Ubuntu package, MongoDB should already be running (if not, run service mongodb start). If you installed the binary manually, run sudo mongod from where mongo is installed to start mongo.

Diaspora will not run unless mongo is running. Mongo will not run by default, and will need to be started every time you wish to use or run the test suite for Diaspora.

Run the app server

Once mongo is running and bundler has finished, run bundle exec thin start from the root Diaspora directory. This will start the app server in development mode.

Logging in

Run rake db:seed:tom, then login with user tom and password evankorth. More details in db/seeds/tom.rb.


Diaspora's test suite uses rspec, a behavior driven testing framework. In order to run the tests, run bundle exec rspec spec.


We are maintaining a public tracker project and a roadmap. Also, you can file bug reports right here on github.

Ongoing discussion:

More general info and updates about the project can be found on our blog, twitter. Also, be sure to join the official mailing list.


Copyright 2010 Diaspora Inc.

Diaspora is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU Affero General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

Diaspora is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU Affero General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU Affero General Public License along with Diaspora. If not, see http://www.gnu.org/licenses/.