Aral Balkan @aral

Want to make a huge contribution to Mastodon adoption?

Create and maintain a Debian package for Mastodon. If you know anyone fluent in making and maintaining Debian packages, please share this with them. Let’s reduce the complexity of installing Mastodon on Debian-based distributions (e.g., Ubuntu) down to running a single command and watch the instance numbers shoot up! :)

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@aral in a spirit of cross #os cooperation: there is an excellent #FreeBSD port that might inspire the package builders:

@aral getting server up and running easily is one thing but administering, maintaining and *covering running costs* is quite another...#mastodon

@aral is the number of instances a limiting factor though? I thought that we actually have too many instances for too few users.
I'd be willing to start a mastodon server but didn't see the need at all so far?

@Maltimore @aral Should technical proficiency be the limiting factor? Or should e. g. people who are good at community management and who are trusted by others be able to run their own instances? Of course, such an instance needs to be secure, too, otherwise vulnerable people might get hurt.

@aral @stefanieschulte hmmmm I definitely missed that aspect. Fair point!
I was looking at it only from a "what do we need to make mastodon grow?" perspective.

@stefanieschulte @Maltimore @aral This is a key point, however: Telling people without the technical proficiency to "just install Debian on some VPS and run apt-get install mastodon" is very dangerous, IMHO. If you want non-technical people to run their own instance, probably services like / or at least a pre-configured (with secure firewall, web server etc. settings and automatic updates) VM image is a better approach.

@aral @Maltimore @stefanieschulte (Just to clarify: This is a general remark, not aimed at the original suggestion of providing Debian packages. Obviously, Debian packages would also make life much easier, efficient and secure (through package updates) for people with the necessary technical proficiency. :))

@stefanieschulte @Maltimore @aral
I don't think infrastructure can be trusted unless it's being run by knowledgeable people. Now, how do we find some of those, and know *they* can be trusted?

The problem is as old as any community. Sooner or later, some form of organization is required.

Also, this stuff costs money to run. Not a lot, maybe an €5 VM for a couple dozen users, but it's going to ramp up fast for a big instance.

@aral @Gargron What do you mean by “a Debian package”, though?

If you mean any .deb, omnibus or fpm can do that, but that's not super useful on its own.

If you mean shipping it in Debian (and, consequently, in downstream distros), it means packaging (and maintaining) every single JS and Ruby distribution of Mastodon. It's not something “anyone fluent in Debian packaging” can do, it would be a massive, collaborative undertaking.

@kellerfuchs @aral @gargron Packaging the ruby dependencies would probably be a lot of work, but feasible. I assume Mastodon uses npm-built js packages, which is a nightmare, and which is why I haven't bothered packaging it for Guix.

@aral And/or use the "copy/paste" guides available in French (by @angristan) and the Italian/English translation I've made available here:

@aral would a Docker or Snap install be better? It would make updates easier.