Fediverse in 2020

02.01.21 Author(s): @lostinlight ,

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.

Fediverse project logos in space with cats and UFOs 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.

SepiaSearch – search engine for PeerTube

Fediverse 2020 timeline

January 6: Smithereen open sources its codebase

January 23: ForgeFed gets funded by NGI Zero Discovery Fund established by NLnet with financial support from the European Comission’s Next Generation Internet program

January 30: Funkwhale receives funding from NGI Zero (NLnet)

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

June 23: Lemmy project is funded by NGI Zero (NLnet)

July 23: Masto.host, the biggest provider for Mastodon, experiences a major DDoS attack

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 22: Framasoft introduces SepiaSearch - a search engine to help discover videos and channels on PeerTube

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

October 27: Mobilizon stable version 1.0 and a guided tour of the project are released

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.

Is any important 2020 event missing? Feel free to suggest it in issues or send a suggestion in a direct message.

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.