Static Alternatives to Mastodon and Gitea

Like how I decided to switch off Wordpress, I think I've had enough running Mastodon and Gitea.

Keeping up with configuration changes with Gitea had been annoying, whereas with Mastodon, breakages are common due the mismatching system library versions (mostly protobuf) in the dependencies. While the latter is not a fault of Mastodon itself, having to install two package managers (for Ruby and Node.js, respectively) just to run a program is rather ridiculous to me.

I started hosting both applications in 2018: Mastadon first as a replacement for Twitter, and Gitea later in reaction to Microsoft's acquisition of Github. Looking back, they were probably overkill for my needs: my primary use case for a git server and a micro blog are both very much single-user focused and write-only, which means these content should be available in read-only form for my site's visitors, making static pages the perfect replacement for both web front ends.

Starting with Mastadon, I'm using the twtxt format to store and serve my micro blog. The format has existed for some time now, but enjoyed a recent resurgence in the tildeverse (a series of websites offering public access Unix-like systems). While there is now a whole community supported ecosystem of various syntax extensions and software seeking to add more features to the format, I have found the barebone timestamp-tab-and-then-text syntax to be sufficient. The write-and-forget cycle is really addicting, and even more so when using a command line client (mine is aptly named twixter).

As for Gitea, while an excellent Github replacement in my opinion, is more suitable for community collaboration than as a personal project dumping ground. I opted to manage the git repositories directly (see Chapter 4.4 and 4.5 of Pro Git), and use stagit to generate the corresponding HTML files. These stagit-generated pages have replaced Gitea as the new Trantor Holocron.

Now that I have found satisfactory solution for the write-only portion of my online presence, I will continue to explore options for the remaining two pillars: read-only (content consumption) and interaction (means of communication). Web feeds and email are my best answers now, but they still don't cover all the bases in my experience.


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