I truly believe that (the protocol behind ) has the potential to redefine the way we create and connect on the internet. But to get there, we need to spread the word - a network is only as valuable as the people in it.

I want to get that ball rolling - I wrote a blog post about how ActivityPub is going to change the internet. Check it out here: And please boost/share to your other networks so we can keep making the Fediverse bigger!

And of course, let me know your thoughts either here or in the post comments 🤓

@jdormit hey, Jeremy. I got from this that I can use my username to log in to other services like Peertube or Funkwhale?

Is that right? How would I do that?

@frandavid100 you can't log into those services with your Mastodon, but you can interact with them from Mastodon, e.g. @framasoft is a PeerTube account, and if you go to their account from Mastodon you can see the videos they posted, see the comments on them (as Mastodon replies) and reply to them yourself to comment on the video.

@frandavid100 @framasoft But I see why that paragraph is confusing. I think what I was getting is more that @frandavid100 uniquely identifies you across all ActivityPub services, so no one could open a PeerTube (or whatever) with that identity.

@jdormit @framasoft I'm not sure I follow...

I own @frandavid100, but anyone could register (for example) and say that's me. Can't they?

@frandavid100 @framasoft Sure, but is a distinct identity. Since you can use your account on PeerTube as well, that becomes your uniquely identifying online ID, and other identities wouldn't be you by definition.

@frandavid100 @framasoft There are definitely a couple of pieces missing though. Some sort of verification mechanism would be nice, e.g. a way to prove that a account and a account are the same identity. Plus interoperability isn't all the way there either, so as a practical reality you'd still need a PeerTube account to do somr things on PeerTube (I don't think you can post videos from Mastodon).

@jdormit @framasoft but, let's say I want to write toots and upload videos to Peertube. Do I need to have two different identities that people need to follow separately?

I was under that impression, but your post gave me hope that I was wrong.

@frandavid100 @framasoft ah yeah that is currently true, I think because PeerTube videos need to be uploaded to the PeerTube server and that can only be done through the PeerTube web app.

I should update that part of my post to make it clearer.

That being said, there's no reason that we couldn't have greater interoperability between ActivityPub apps - the spec supports it. It would require a lot of coordination between the projects though.

@jdormit @framasoft would it be technically possible to create some kind of federated identity service?

Kind of a way for me to have one single profile that points to all my other accounts, where friends can follow me once to get all my content?

@frandavid100 @framasoft The ActivityPub spec definitely supports this - users are represented as Actors that have a single endpoint you can hit to get all of their content. The problem is that each ActivityPub service has a different authentication model, so clients of this ActivityPub identity thing would need to know how to authenticate the way the host server wants it to.

This is actually something I'm trying to implement for my ActivityPub Wordpress plugin - hopefully that won't be too hard.

@dayglochainsaw haha I hope so! I don't think it's reached critical mass yet - at some point enough people are in the network that it reaches an inflection point and starts growing exponentially. We need more users on existing apps and new apps that implement ActivityPub for that to happen.

@jdormit understandable. You mentioned paying for it being a problem, how does wikipedia do it? They don't run ads and they've been around for years. Why not just take whatever they're doing and replicate it?

@dayglochainsaw I believe Wikipedia relies on donations from users (at least that's what I gather from the ever-bigger "please donate" banners every year). Honestly, I just don't think donations are a scalable way to fund software. The problem is even worse with a federated protocol, because who gets the donations? Eugen? The folks working on the protocol itself? The PeerTube developers? The model that makes the most sense to me is people building businesses on ActivityPub.

@dayglochainsaw I'm not sure exactly what that looks like yet, but I really like the idea because these types of businesses would support user freedom and choice by default, and automatically become part of the same network.

@jdormit i think your mind will melt when you discover that there are multiple different implementation of AP microblogging servers that all inter operate.

@jdormit Really enjoyed the article. I wonder if there's anything to gain from state endorsement: countries can't endorse a company in the same way they can adopt an open standard.

@jdormit You know what though? I think the commercial way forward is to have corporate social the way you have corporate email or corporate identity services.

"We have an ActivityPub social network for our employees with some limited federation for our partners"

Although video conferencing and IM might be earlier targets for a proper solution...

@jdormit I gave a presentation on AvtivityPub Thursday, good conversations afterwards

@jdormit not yet, I should post slides over the weekend. The video person will take a bit for post-processing

@jdormit thanks for writing this up! Good intro story, for myself I miss only more clear distinction between #ActivityPub and Mastodon features/extensions. But this is irrelevant to the target audience. I wish the thoughts @fluffy made were more widely discussed. In the long term coaxing interactions into a couple of verbs may be very limiting. Somehow I feel #OStatus suite gave us more room for experimentation. And the UI discussion is big (too few chars!)

@saper @jdormit also to add to something I only sort of implied, you can add push to Atom (via PubSubHubBub), but you can’t poll ActivityPub. Which means anything ActivityPub-based is going to have a lot of necessary overhead for supporting push, when Atom can be generated by a static site generator.

@fluffy @saper Yeah, AP sort of fakes it through shared inboxes [0], but that's not quite the same as native polling. There's nothing stopping clients from manually polling individual actor's outboxes though - doesn't that amount to the same thing?


@jdormit @saper Well, where I'm coming from here is that "polling" should be able to exist in the form of downloading a static file from a CDN or shared hosting provider or whatever, rather than needing a full-on application stack (or even a CGI or the like). Given that the outbox requires the interaction to be initiated by an HTTP POST that tells me that it's incompatible with that mode of operation.

@saper Yeah @fluffy made some really important points (still formulating a response to their last comment, ha). AP definitely seems aimed at a pretty limited subset of online interactions, but for those use cases (blogging and social, basically) I think it still has huge potential. I don't disagree that other protocols could also fill that role, FWIW.

@jdormit @fluffy I haven't checked the discussion history in the w3c social group, but I presume atom must have been considered as an "upgrade" from RSS-based OStatus. Regarding the UI problem I presume Alan Kay would have said that each data tape should start with a program to interpret them.

@jdormit Great post - and I agree with the sentiment. The “switching costs” are perhaps the most challenging- people have built their whole connected network of people within the walled gardens of mainstream social networks. Rebuilding that elsewhere is a large amount of effort - that many (most?) people simply have no desire to do yet. It may be that we need to continue to chip away at barriers so that as more people have the desire, the path is easier for them to move.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Mastodon for Tech Folks

This Mastodon instance is for people interested in technology. Discussions aren't limited to technology, because tech folks shouldn't be limited to technology either!