On 27 April 2021, Bareos set up a Mastodon account. Bareos joins the Fediverse to reach out to people in decentralized networks and deliver news about our Open Source backup solution. This guest post from a colleague at our partner dass IT explains why we’re not only on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but also part of the Fediverse.
As an Open Source company, Bareos likes to promote other Open Source solutions following new ideas. Admittedly, the Fediverse is not that new – after all, it just celebrated its 13th birthday. The Fediverse (composed of “federation” and “universe”) is a network of federated and independent networks, microblogging services and other websites. The idea behind it: A user account on any Fediverse platform is sufficient to exchange information with other users on all other Fediverse platforms. It’s not necessary to create multiple accounts – a significant difference to the data-hungry closed social networks such as Facebook, Twitter & Co.
We all know the downsides of social media platforms: “too powerful” or “too insecure” or even “problematic in terms of data protection” are only some of the issues. The companies behind the social media platforms collect data from their users. They store and evaluate it, just to make money with it. The platforms are also good targets for hacker attacks, because all data is stored centrally. So, we all know about the problems, and we also know about alternative ways to connect. What’s stopping us?
How does the Fediverse work?
The Fediverse is an association of many different networks. Each network can have any number of instances, which you can even set up yourself. The code is open source and therefore openly visible. Users are free to choose where they register and to whom they entrust their data. If you want to take the whole thing into your own hands, you can set up your own service. This works in a similar way to the good old email: Everyone is free to decide where they register an address and who to trust. Users communicate with people all over the world who also have an email address – that’s what decentralized means.
Mastodon works in a similar way: everyone can communicate with other Mastodon users, no matter where they are logged in. But that’s not all. Participants can even communicate with everyone else in Fediverse (or at least with a very large part of it). The ActivityPub protocol developed by the W3C is the key to this. Since Mastodon is not the only network in the Fediverse, users can reach other networks with their account, such as Friendica or Diaspora. They can even comment on videos on PeerTube (which also has multiple instances).
Independent and protected
By the way, since the data is not stored by a single provider, hacker attacks are more or less pointless. Users normally have nicknames and usually only the server’s IP address is passed on to other instances which makes the Fediverse relatively anonymous. Of course, it’s possible that an instance discontinues its service. However, users can export their data at any time. This is reassuring, not only in case someone is unhappy with a Fediverse instance and wants to move to another one. Nobody has to fear to be alone on another instance, because everyone can always communicate with everyone else.
All in all, we think this is a great concept and hope for more followers in Fediverse – happy tooting!