As I didn’t succeed yet in getting Mastodon to run on a Raspberry Pi, nor in running a Gnu Social instance that actually federates on my hosting package, I’ve opted for an intermediate solution to running my own Mastodon instance.

Key in all this is satisfying three dimensions: control, flexibility and ease of use. My earlier attempts satisfy the control and flexibility dimensions, but as I have a hard time getting them to work, do not satisfy the ease of use dimension yet.

At the same time I did not want to keep using Mastodon on a generic server much longer, as it builds up a history there which with every conversation ups the cost of leaving.

The logical end point of the distributed web and federated services is running your own individual instance. Much as in the way I run my own blog, I want my own Mastodon instance.

Such an individual instance needs to be within my own scope of control. This means having it at a domain I own. and being able to move everything to a different server at will.

There is a hoster, Masto.host run by Hugo Gameiro, who provides Mastodon hosting as a monthly subscription. As it allows me to use my own domain name, and provides me with admin privileges of the mastodon instance, this is a workable solution. When I succeed in getting my own instance of Mastodon running on the Rapsberry Pi, I can simply move the entire instance at Masto.host to it.

Working with Hugo at Masto.host was straightforward. After registering for the service, Hugo got in touch with me to ensure the DNS settings on my own domain were correct, and briefly afterwards everything was up and running.
Frank Meeuwsen, who started using Masto.host last month, kindly wrote up a ‘moving your mastodon account’ guide in his blog (in Dutch). I followed (most) of that, to ensure a smooth transition.

Using Mastodon? Do follow me at https://m.tzyl.nl/@ton.

Screenshots of my old Mastodon.cloud account, and my new one on my own domain. And the goodbye and hello world messages from both.

In the past few days I tried a second experiment to run my own Mastodon instance. Both to actually get a result, but also to learn how easy or hard it is to do. The first round I tried running something on a hosted domain. This second round I tried to get something running on a Raspberry Pi.

The Rapsberry Pi is a 35 Euro computer, making it very useful for stand-alone solutions or as a cheap hardware environment to learn things like programming.

20180923_144442Installing Debian Linux on the Rapsberry Pi

I found this guide by Wim Vanderbauwhede, which describes installing both Mastodon and Pleroma on a Raspberry Pi 3. I ordered a Raspberry Pi 3 and received it earlier this week. Wim’s guide points to another guide by on how to install Ruby on Rails and PostgresSQL on a Rapsberry Pi. The link however was dead, and that website offline. However archive.org had stored several snapshots, which I save to Evernote.

Installing Ruby on Rails went fine using the guide, as did installing PostgresSQL. Then I returned to Wim’s guide, now pointing to the Mastodon installation guide. This is where the process currently fails for me: I can’t extend the Ubuntu repositories mentioned, nor node.js.

So for now I’m stalled. I’ll try to get back to it later next week.