I have posted before about my experiences in the linux and FOSS community, and specifically about getting in, fitting in, taking part in, and later dropping out of the community. Since the recent rebirth of this dormant website, I have revisited mastodon, and logged back in to my fosstodon account again for the first time. I say the first time because I honestly cannot remember the last time I had logged in, but thankfully bitwarden had my password. In the short two week period, at the time of this writing, that I have been back on fosstodon, I can say it has been enjoyable and eye opening.

Mastodon is an open source, and Free as in freedom, privacy respecting, own your data, social network server and micro blogging platform. All mastodon servers can communicate with each other on a federated network of decentralized servers; this means that if you are have an account on one server, or instance, you can communicate with all users on the server you are on, as well as users on other servers. Additionally, mastodon is part of the larger fediverse and can communicate with the other non-mastodon parts of the fediverse too. That is the short and sweet, oversimplified explanation of what mastodon is.

If you want to know why you should use mastodon, please read @codesections’s post about how and why mastodon is better than twitter; he is one of the moderators of the fosstodon mastodon instance, and he says it better than I ever could.

So, after that brief, what, how, and why, I will get back to the main purpose of the this post, and continue to gush a little about the fosstodon mastodon instance. One of the things I love about mastodon and it being federated, is that the instance you choose to have an account with can, if you find the right instance, really feel like a community. What I mean by that is if you are a Free and open source linux geek, the fosstodon instance will feel like home for you. The fosstodon instance is filled with people who care about linux, Free and open source software, and all the various and sundry geeky/nerdy things that those people are passionate about. If you are passionate about something, being surrounded by, and communicating with, people who are passionate about the same things, puts you in an environment that both liberates and fosters a healthy, fun, and engaging community.

I am living proof that, even someone like me who has suffered from occasional impostor’s syndrome, can, and will, be accepted into the linux and Free and open source software community. The fosstodon instance is a place for people like me; an exciting, and engaging place that allows anyone and everyone that is passionate about these things to get in , fit in, and take part in, an accepting community that feels like home.

Fosstodon, being just one instance of the larger mastodon federated network, isn’t a particularity small instance with over 15,000 users (and don’t forget you can still communicate with the other instances), but it still feels like a community, as well connected part of a larger unique part of the internet. And that is because it is part of the fediverse, the larger universe made up of all the federated networks, that in addition to mastodon include diaspora, Friendica, GNU Social, Hubzilla, Misskey, PeerTube, Pleroma, Pixelfed, Funkwhale, and possibly more. Together, all of these decentralized networks of federated servers make up the larger fediverse. It is a small-feeling, interconnected corner of the internet, that isn’t controlled by giant companies that mine your data for their profits. It sort of reminds me of the internet before the web became the way it is today; it somehow reminds me of gopherspace and BBSs, when the internet felt, in a good way, smaller–but more connected.

I told you I was gonna gush.

None of this is rocket science, and it may not even be that eye-opening for most people reading this, but I have had my eyes opened, again, by the linux and Free and open source software community. Thanks fosstodon.

If you don’t have a home on mastodon yet, and especially, if you are passionate about FOSS and linux, just click the link below to sign up for an account on the fosstodon instance:

Join fosstodon.

And if fosstodon doesn’t sound like home to you, being able to pick, or even host, your own instance are just two more reasons that make mastodon, and the fediverse so awesome.