Happy 2022, fedizens!
So, buckle your seatbelts and lets travel back in time. Let us watch the progress of glorious Fediverse in the past year.
Credits: image from Pixabay
Fediverse in numbers
In 2021 Fediverse expanded from 5.027 to 7.744 known servers. That’s about +2.700 nodes! An impressive growth, compared to previous couple of years that showed a stable trend of 900-1.000 new servers a year.
In June fediverse.party started counting Plume, Lemmy and Mobilizon in yearly statistics. They account for only 222 servers though, so the rest of the statistics spike definitely indicates that Fediverse is growing! By the way, we launched our own Fediverse crawler in November, to make sure that these numbers are as accurate as possible.
Credits: pie chart by Minoru
The ammount of registered accounts went back up to 2019 levels and by the end of 2021 slightly surpassed that benchmark, reaching ~4.500.000.
We, fedizens, know that numbers aren’t the most important thing in the world. But grown-ups like numbers.
Credits: image by Devran Topallar, Pixabay license
So let’s mention that, despite smaller userbase, Fediverse is showing its true potential for free open source projects: those developers who officially join our corner of the Internet enjoy higher follower numbers than on centralized social networks. \O/
Seven networks growing most rapidly in online servers in 2021 were:
• Misskey 🎉 ~ quadrupled server numbers (+220)
• PeerTube 🎉 ~ tripled server numbers (+760)
• Funkwhale 🎉 ~ tripled server numbers (+83)
• Pleroma 🎉 ~ doubled server numbers (+483)
• WriteFreely 🎉 ~ doubled server numbers (+180)
• Pixelfed 🎉 ~ doubled server numbers (+106)
• Mastodon 🎉 ~ +28% (+792)
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.
Fediverse in projects
At least 14 new projects joined Fediverse in 2021!
🌟 GoToSocial – social network server written in Golang
🌟 Owncast – self-hosted live streaming platform
🌟 Castopod – open-source platform made for podcasters who want to engage and interact with their audience
🌟 Inventaire – platform for cataloguing and sharing physical books from personal collections and independent libraries
🌟 GoBlog – simple blogging system written in Go
🌟 Stringer – ActivityPub and Laravel powered decentralized blogging platform for the masses
🌟 bopwiki – simple “microwiki” implementation, fairly similar to the Zettelkasten system
🌟 Wolfgame – a game akin to Mafia; once started, it simulates a day/night cycle and allows players to vote on who might be a werewolf during the day
🌟 Dharma – federated community-building platform for Eve Online corporations
🌟 lectrn – social network for humans that is free, decentralized, open, and easy to use
🌟 Catcast-D – federated video live streaming platform
🌟 FChannel – libre, self-hostable imageboard platform that utilizes ActivityPub
🌟 MatticNote – ActivityPub compatible social network that aims to be easy for everyone to use
🌟 hvxahv – multifunctional decentralized social network implementation
→ For the full list of Fediverse projects in development see Miscellaneous page.
🥄 Ecko – fork of Mastodon to optimize toward community, that is making it as easy as possible to contribute
🥄 Acropolis – fork of diaspora that’s making it as easy as possible to contribute
💎 Group Actor – groups work with any software that implements Mastodon client API; has moderation, admin announcements
In July Inexcode relaunched fediverse.space - a beautiful project that has previously been developed by Tao Bojlén and that got a second life thanks to its codebase being open source! In August Paula launched a new forum for any discussions related to Fediverse - fediverse.town. In November Minoru open sourced Fediverse nodes list to help public statistics hubs and to empower new ecosystem developments! And by the end of the year, Fediverse Wiki project was launched.
Credits: background image by Alex Antropov, Pixabay license
Let’s make even more useful, quality projects around Fedi! And, please, may they not rely on avoidable 3rd-party dependencies, like Google Fonts, Cloudflare and other centralized trackers.
More and more official institutions are moving towards FOSS and Fediverse:
• In 2021 Noyb.eu officially established its presence (for the second time:);
• Museums explore federated networks: Beeld en Geluid, the Netherlands Sound & Vision museum, and museum of retro Computers in Kishinev installed their own PeerTube servers; European Institute for Contemporary Art and Science opened a Mastodon account;
• New accounts of German politicians keep popping up;
• Universities are joining federated networks too.
There have also been ideas to set up an official Fediverse foundation, a legal entity to provide extra opportunities for contributors who want to work on improving Fediverse. Arnold Schrijver has been working on fedi.foundation, and Paula started a discussion about first steps needed for the creation of such an organization. Would you like to be part of this initiative? Join the discussion!
Fediverse 2021 timeline
✔ February: Pleroma surpasses the 1.000 servers milestone
✔ March 10: a wave of new users migrates into the Russian constellation of Fediverse
✔ April 18: diaspora* releases a new minor version. Jonne Haß , one of the core team members, continues work on a new native app for Android and iOS – you can already help with translations and beta test it (the app will work for pods running the develop branch v0.7.99.0 where the API is available)
✔ May: Fediverse holds its very own Fedivision song contest
✔ May 17: Tusky, a popular Fediverse mobile app, is temporarily removed from Google Play Store, because Google doesn’t understand decentralization. Users who’d downloaded it on FDroid weren’t affected. Google had already threatened to remove Fediverse apps in 2020, so this is becoming a nice yearly tradition.
✔ May 18: Fediverse 🐣 celebrates its 13 birthday
✔ June: PeerTube surpasses the 1.000 servers milestone and becomes second most popular ActivityPub project by node count (after Mastodon)
✔ August 8: Pleroma 2.4.0 is released, featuring many fixes, additions and improvements
✔ August 13: Mastodon is registered as a non-profit organization
✔ September: Fedi stats hub Poduptime gets re-branded and becomes Fediverse.observer
✔ September 1: first Owncast tests of federation over ActivityPub
✔ September 8: Pixelfed’s latest stable release adds media licenses, federated stories and improved mod and admin tools
✔ September 25: Friendica “Siberian Iris” is out, with scheduled postings, better notification system and admin panel improvements
✔ November 9: Hubzilla introduces version 6.4 that improves file upload performance and all-in-one channel cloning via network
✔ November 13: GoToSocial project makes its first beta release
✔ November 14: Lemmy starts federating with several other Fedi projects
✔ November 21: diaspora* core team reveales its short-term plans for the future
✔ November 30: PeerTube version 4 is out, bringing advanced filter features that improve moderation and administration
Feneas, the organization hosting this website and its repository, may soon shut down. This is sad news. Huge thanks to all the Feneas team, and personally to Jason Robinson and Lukas Matt, for your work, for always being patient and helpful. Good luck in all your future endeavours!
Fediverse.party is in search of a new home. It would be nice to move to another GitLab instance. But, as stability and reliability are more important than certain software, we’ll most likely migrate to Codeberg. Let’s wait and see how it works out.
Move slow and build things to last! Here’s to another great year. 🎉
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.