Blushy-Crushy Fediverse Idol: A Chat with Lain about Pleroma

Sean Tilley
Apr 24, 2018 · 11 min read
This is the only picture Lain would give me.

Note: because Lain is a funny human being, their posts have been sprinkled throughout the interview.

Tell me a little bit about yourself. How did you get into developing federated web applications?

Lain’s contribution to Diaspora

What motivated you to develop a new federated social platform, rather than work on an existing one?

GNU Social with the popular “Qvitter” frontend that made the UI more Twitter-like

“That’s something I’d recommend to other fediverse projects, too: Write compatible APIs. I implemented the Mastodon API, too, so now we can use nearly all Mastodon apps, including the Mastodon UI itself.”

How did you initially develop Pleroma? What’s the history behind the project?

Pleroma is rapidly growing into its own unique community on the fediverse now. What has your experience been like in organizing and developing an open source project with volunteer contributors?

In the user community space, it seems that there is a bit of a schism between Pleroma and Mastodon. What is the overall relationship between both projects?

“I think Mastodon tries to steer the network in a certain direction with strong, unchangeable defaults. We like to put more power into the hands of the individual admin and user.”

Hopefully Lain is joking.

One thing that stands out to me about Pleroma is the fact that the server backend is in Elixir, which sits atop Erlang. What made you decide to use that instead of, say, a certain Ruby-based framework?

What has your experience been like in working with ActivityPub?

What’s your overall impression of the ActivityPub applications currently being worked on? Is it hard to maintain compatibility between all these systems?

A lot of former GNU Social instances seem to be steadily migrating onto Pleroma. What do you think of that?

Let’s talk about the Gopher support in Pleroma for a moment. A lot of people initially thought it was a joke, but apparently it really does work?

Gopher mode in action

What developments are you working on right now? Are there any features in particular that you’re excited about?

An early look at Pleroma Chat, which looks strikingly familiar…

What’s the hardest part of doing all of this?

What do you do for fun in your spare time, when you’re not developing Pleroma?

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the people reading this?


We Distribute

Reporting on decentralization and the free web.

Sean Tilley

Written by

Editor of WeDistribute. Obsessed with Free Software and Decentralization. Also makes things, sometimes with Elixir.

We Distribute

Reporting on decentralization and the free web.