Mastodon is a free and open source microblogging platform similar to 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 Twitter, 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. Anyone can run a server of Mastodon. Each server hosts individual user accounts, the content they produce, and the content they are subscribed. Every user can follow each other and share their posts regardless of their server.
Sign up to Mastodon is simple. Just supply a username, email address and password and you’re set.
You can use Mastodon with a web browser. Or you may prefer desktop software. Tootle is a GTK client for Mastodon. With the user experience in mind, it provides a clean, native interface that allows you to integrate Mastodon’s social experience seamlessly with your desktop environment.
There’s a convenient package available in the Ubuntu repositories which can be installed from the command-line or with the Ubuntu Software graphical tool.
We installed Tootle using the available snap with the command:
$ sudo snap install tootle
The full source code is available as the program is published under an open source license.
Besides Ubuntu, we also tested the software under Arch. We didn’t try to build the program manually although we compiled the software via the Arch User Repository (which is available for Arch and Arch-based distros). The installation proceeded smoothly.