Happy 2021, fedizens!
One more year in Fediverse passed. Let’s have a look at what we have achieved in 2020.
Fediverse in numbers
The number of servers grew from 5.027 last year to ~5.900 by the end of 2020. That’s about 900 new instances.
The number of registered users, on the other hand, has decreased and by the end of the year remains slightly above 4.000.000. This may be due to the fact that several large servers went down during the year, and because some administrators periodically remove long inactive accounts to free up space for newcomers.
Whatever the reason, we may rejoice that more small instances keep appearing. That’s what Fediverse is supposed to be doing – decentralizing!
Seven networks growing most rapidly in online server numbers in 2020 were:
• PeerTube 🎉 +320 servers
• Mastodon 🎉 +237 servers
• Pleroma 🎉 +224 servers
• WriteFreely 🎉 +74 servers
• Misskey 🎉 +58 servers
• Mobilizon 🎉 +45 servers
• Pixelfed 🎉 +40 servers
Note: these numbers are an approximation based on statistics voluntarily provided by server administrators. Servers go offline / online every hour, every day, so the numbers reflect only part of Fediverse at the time this article was published.
Credits: picture is based on an image from Pixabay.com
Fediverse in projects
At least 16 new projects joined Fediverse in 2020!
🌟 Bonfire – a plug & play federated social network based on CommonsPub
🌟 Bookwyrm – social reading and reviewing, a federated alternative to GoodReads
🌟 The Occasion Octopus – a federated network of Open Data for discovering interesting events
🌟 OLKi – linguistic corpora exchange platform, a simple gateway to Fediverse for scientific interaction
🌟 Immers Space – a virtual reality metaverse platform powered by Mozilla Hubs and ActivityPub-Express
🌟 Lotide – a federated forum / link aggregator
🌟 Tavern – a minimalistic ActivityPub server
🌟 Learn Awesome – a review aggregation site generalized to all learning resources organized by topics, formats and difficulty
🌟 OpenEngiadina – a knowledge base and a social network using ActivityPub and the Semantic Web
🌟 Gathio – self-destructing, shareable, no-registration event pages
🌟 SemApps – a collaborative, generic knowledge management system for easing data storage and filtering
🌟 FlockingBird – network for professionals, a LinkedIn alternative
🌟 SkoHub – a publication / subscription infrastructure for Open Educational Resources; allows to follow specific subjects and be notified when new content is published
🌟 Reedlebee – a viable Goodreads alternative; book reading progress, lists, reviews, comments, and more
🌟 LubarGW2 – federating guild website using GuildWars2 API
🌟 XWiki Extension – an implementation of the ActivityPub for XWiki
→ For a full list of Fediverse projects in development see Miscellaneous page.
Related new projects:
• SepiaSearch – search engine for PeerTube
Fediverse 2020 timeline
February: Simon Urli announces plans to add ActivityPub to XWiki, an open-source Wiki platform; receives funding from NGI Zero (NLNet)
March: Pleroma introduces federated emoji reactions in its 2.0 release
March: Friendica adds custom profile fields, support for ActivityPub relays, and starts federating with Funkwhale
April: The French ministry deploys about 35 PeerTube instances, creating a vast platform of educational videos without tracking and advertisements
April 7: New project OpenEngiadina joins the scene. The project was supported by NGI Zero (NLnet)
May: Mastodon’s creator announces that some progress has been made on adding end-to-end encryption for direct messages in Mastodon. By the end of 2020, this is a work in progress
May 16: PixelDroid, an Android client for Pixelfed, prepares for an alpha release
May 18: Fediverse 🐣 celebrates its 12 birthday
August: Google threatens to remove several popular Fediverse apps from Google Play on the pretext that servers in Fediverse engage in hate speech and users can be exposed to it via these apps. Fedilab, a popular multi-purpose Fediverse app, receives Google warning too. This brings a wave of rage from users who blame Google for double standards and demand to also ban Twitter apps and Chrome, as all of them expose users to hate speech. Heated discussions on HackerNews, Reddit and other tech outlets follow
August 28: Pleroma introduces ActivityPub chats in 2.1.0 release
September 09: Funkwhale releases first stable version
September 15: Mario Vavti, Hubzilla core developer, achieves a grant from NGIZero (NLnet)
September 30: Pixelcat, Android client for Pixelfed, Mastodon and Pleroma, gets traction
October: 👍 Debian donates 10.000 Euros to fund free and decentralized live-streaming in PeerTube
October 2-5th: A conference about the present and future of ActivityPub takes place in Barcelona. 💡 Watch the talks
October 3: SepiaSearch is now integrated in Searx
October 20: Lemmy starts federating via ActivityPub
November: Streaming is coming to PeerTube, a feature awaited by many
November 18: Funkwhale is looking for new maintainers
December 25: Socialhome project adds alpha support for Matrix
December: An ActivityPub conference happens during rC3, 💡 watch the talk about Funkwhale.
Fediverse is mostly run by volunteers who spend their own money to keep the network going. If you enjoy being on Fediverse, please, consider sponsoring your own local server or donating to Fedi project you most often use.