10 Best Free and Open Source Graphical Mastodon Clients

Mastodon is a free and open source microblogging platform similar to X (formerly Twitter), but with user privacy and decentralization in mind. It’s one of many protocols that interacts with the Fediverse of protocols like Pleroma, GNU Social, and others. Unlike X, Mastodon is not one social network.

Getting started with Mastodon can be confusing for newcomers. Mastodon is a federated service. This means its similar to email. You can create an email account with many different providers. And that’s the same with Mastodon. The service lets you sign up to one of many sites that run Mastodon software, called instances. A user can communicate with other Mastodon users on different instances. The instances are themed – many by country, city, or interest.

Signup to Mastodon is simple. Just supply a username, email address and password and you’re set.

Mastodon is open source, so (unsurprisingly) developers have contributed several ways to set it up. You can run it as a software package on your server, or run it as a Docker image, or even as a Heroku service.

Here’s our verdict captured in a legendary LinuxLinks-ratings chart. They are all free and open source goodness.

Ratings chart

Let’s explore the 10 GUI-based Mastodon clients. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, together with links to relevant resources.

Mastodon Clients
SengiMulti-account Mastodon and Pleroma desktop client
WhalebirdMastodon, Pleroma, and Misskey client
TheDeskManages multiple Mastodon accounts and trending hashtags
TubaExplore the federated social web with Tuba for GNOME
TokodonModern Mastodon client for Plasma and Plasma Mobile
FedistarFediverse client application for the desktop
TootleGTK client providing a clean, native interface
KaitekiFediverse client for social-media sites
TelephantLightweight and modern Mastodon client for the desktop
HyperspaceSimplistic Mastodon desktop client

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Torin Doyle
Torin Doyle
2 months ago

I just stick with the web interface for the instance.