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Marco Zehe @MarcoInEnglish
, 13 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
And it is indeed a mere coincidence that I spent the last days looking at alternative social networks that are federated and decentralised, and all based on open source software. The following tweets describe a few of my impressions.
#Mastodon is a very friendly community that is remotely based on the old StatusNet open-source software. Does anyone remember Identica? You choose a server to create an account on, and can follow people from all connected (federated) instances.
You have fine-grained, but very concise control over where each post goes. Each post has a limit of 500 characters, and you can add a content warning, which will be the only thing initially displayed if you do. You can then choose to read the rest or not.
DMs are a special form of post, namely posts that only you and the mentioned people can see.
From the feel of it, it is very close to the Twitter experience, but with a chronological order and without the ads.
As for its accessibility, it has a few odds and ends, but in general it is very accessible. The web version offers shortcuts to navigate the timelines (yes, you can have more than one open on a single page and switch between them). In application mode, this reads nicely.
As a nice add-on: If you attach an image to a post (or toot as they call it), you are being asked for an image description right away. This gets converted into the image’s alt text when reading the timeline later.
There are also mobile apps. I tried Amaroq on iOS, and there’s one called Tusky for Android which is very popular, but I don’t know about its accessibility. Both are open-source as well.
Both also support image descriptions/alt text.
#GnuSocial is a different federated network, but because it and Mastodon use a standard by the W3C to communicate, they can federate with one another. Their web client is a bit more involved, and I find it not so clean as Mastodon’s. Others may like it, though.
There are apps for it, too, but haven’t tried them myself.
#Friendica is a much more powerful, in terms of functions and configurability, social network that has the ability to branch out to a huge host of other networks, forums, and even e-mail boxes. Its core developers are very eager to fix accessibility problems.
It can also federate with Gnu Social and Mastodon, but it also has links to Diaspora, Google+ and Twitter even. Well as long as Twitter’s APIs allow, that is. From its feel, it’s closer related to FB than Twitter, there’s no post length limit, for example, and one comments.
So where #Mastodon is, from the feel, closest to a Twitter-like experience, Gnu Social is somewhere in-between, and #Friendica is closest to something like FaceBook or Google+. All open-source, and not ad driven.
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