Linux Format

The Verdict

Fediverse servers


This is going to sound like the kind of cop-out you’d hear at a primary school sports day, but there’s no clear-cut winner here.

We picked these particular five fediverse servers because they’re so very different. They’re designed for different types of user, different use cases, and for admins with varying levels of expertise.

While Akkoma is this writer’s own personal favourite, we can’t recommend it to everyone, and it’s best used as a single-user instance or with up to a few dozen local users. The interface, although switchable, is best suited to informal conversati­ons and captioned images.

Likewise, Lemmy is better suited to debates and discussion­s, and does a fair job of imitating Reddit. However, outside this use case, it’s not really the best in any other area.

This specialisa­tion is a problem for Pixelfed, too – but only if you’re measuring against metrics that are outside of its core function. It’s an Instagram clone, and a very good one. To our mind, the ability to federate with different server types is a secondary concern at most, and comments and discussion are largely irrelevant. It’s not really fair to judge it on any grounds apart from snapping, sharing and viewing pictures.

Misskey can be whatever you want it to be, and if you’re the kind of person who enjoys spending days ricing your desktop to achieve the perfect aesthetic, you’re probably going to love it, but most people would possibly prefer fewer options, and just boot the server and get posting.

Mastodon achieves just that. There’s a standard interface that is recognisab­le to approximat­ely seven million users who are already on the fediverse, along with a suite of tools that make sense, and an interface that allows some degree of customisat­ion, but not so much it’ll swallow you up.

Taken objectivel­y as a whole, Mastodon comes out ahead, thanks to its sensible controls and extensive moderation options, and for the fact that if you tell your friends to join Mastodon, there’s a chance they might actually know what you’re talking about.

The other four entries come joint second. In one way or another, they’re all great.

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