VSHN.timer #162: Mastodon Rising

14. Nov 2022

Welcome to another VSHN.timer! Every Monday, 5 links related to Kubernetes, OpenShift, CI / CD, and DevOps; all stuff coming out of our own chat system, making us think, laugh, or simply work better.

This week we’re going to talk about how a relatively obscure distributed social network is teaching everyone a few lessons in resilience, availability, and freedom.

1. What is Mastodon? Why have a million users joined it recently? Why is the BBC talking about it? How does it work? Natasha Nox has written a fantastic quick guide for newcomers but she’s not the only one: our own Tobru wrote one, too. (Oh and by the way there are a few VSHNeers you can already follow on Mastodon: Tobru, Manuel, Daniel, and yours truly.)


2. One of the key things to understand about Mastodon is that it’s not a centralized service like Twitter, but, being part of the Fediverse, it’s a distributed one, and everyone can run their own instance. But what does it take to run one? How do you cope with the costs and responsibilities of managing a community? Tobias and Leah are behind the chaos.social Mastodon instance, and they explain the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of running it.


3. These last few days Greta Thunberg and Stephen Fry have joined Mastodon, amassing thousands of followers in a few minutes, and this put lots of pressure on the community-run servers, and the whole network. Even Masto.host had to suspend signups due to the influx of new users and customers of their service! Aral Balkan explains how celebrities could have an effect akin to DDoS attacks on Mastodon, and how to solve this problem.


4. But what happened with Twitter? Well, after the takeover, the layoffs, and the overall cruel changes, many SREs have been fired and now the service is starting to show signs of a severe breakdown. Even worse, such a failure could potentially wipe out a substantial record of human history registered over the past 15 years. We’re witnessing a pivotal moment in social media history as we speak.


5. Meanwhile, the #TwitterMigration continues. People are learning how to verify their profiles using GitHub, how to archive the contents of their accounts, how to perform DNS queries over Mastodon, and how to use Debirdify, Fedifinder, or Twitodon to find their Twitter friends on the Fediverse.

Do you have a Mastodon account? Are you running your own instance? Would you like to share some Mastodon tips and tricks with our readers? Get in touch with us including your Mastodon username, and see you next week for another edition of VSHN.timer.

PS: check out our previous VSHN.timer editions about Quality Assurance, SLAs & SREs: #6, #34, #43, #66, #104, and #136.

PS2: do you prefer reading VSHN.timer in your favorite RSS reader? Subscribe to this feed.

PS3: would you like to receive VSHN.timer every Monday in your inbox? Sign up for our weekly VSHN.timer newsletter.

Adrian Kosmaczewski

Adrian Kosmaczewski ist bei VSHN für den Bereich Developer Relations zuständig. Er ist seit 1996 Software-Entwickler, Trainer und veröffentlichter Autor. Adrian hat einen Master in Informationstechnologie von der Universität Liverpool.

Kontaktiere uns

Unser Expertenteam steht für dich bereit. Im Notfall auch 24/7.