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GNU social

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GNU social
Other namesStatusNet
Original author(s)Evan Prodromou et al.
Developer(s)Diogo Cordeiro and GNU social Developers
Final release
1.20.9[1] Edit this on Wikidata / 22 June 2019
Preview release
2.0.0beta0[2] Edit this on Wikidata / 18 July 2021
Written inPHP
Operating systemCross-platform
Available inMore than 25 languages.[3]
TypeWeb application framework

GNU social (previously known as StatusNet and Laconica) is a free and open source microblogging server written in PHP that implemented the OStatus and ActivityPub standard for interoperability between installations. While offering functionality similar to Twitter, GNU social seeks to provide the potential for open and distributed communications between microblogging communities. Enterprises and individuals can install and control their own services and data.[5][6]

At its peak, GNU social had been deployed on hundreds of interoperating servers,[7] however has since fallen into disuse as competing platforms like Mastodon have taken its position as the most popular federated microblogging server.

Later on in its lifespan, the project split into two separate branches, v2 and v3. As of August 15, 2022, there had been no new commits to the repository for the v2 branch,[8] while the v3 branch stopped receiving commits not long after, in November 25, 2022,[9] making the project essentially defunct.


GNU social was spun out of the GNU FM project's codebase, which included federation between other servers hosting GNU FM, as well as Last.fm.[10] The founder was Matt Lee and the early developers were fellow Free Software Foundation employees, Donald Robertson and Deborah Nicholson.

Version 0.9.0, released March 3, 2010, added support for OStatus, a new protocol superseding OpenMicroBlogging, the original protocol that StatusNet used.[11][12]

A notable service that used GNU social was Identi.ca, which became one of the first popular examples of an open source social network. Hosted by the original StatusNet creators under StatusNet Inc., Identi.ca offered free accounts to the public and served as the flagship instance for StatusNet and the broader OStatus network. The site has since migrated to pump.io, and all registrations are now closed.

In June 8, 2013, it was announced StatusNet would be merged into the GNU social project, along with Free Social, another open souce social network service.[13]


The first name of the project, Laconica, was a reference to the Laconic phrase, a particularly concise or terse statement of a kind attributed to the leaders of Sparta (Laconia being the Greek region containing Sparta). In microblogging, all messages are forced to be very short due to the traditional ~140-character limit on message size.

Beginning with version 0.8.1, the name was changed to StatusNet.[14] The developers said that the new name "simply reflects what our software does: send status updates into your social network."[15]

The final name of the project, GNU social, refers to the GNU project.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Diogo Cordeiro 518431ad72 [CORE]". 22 June 2019. Retrieved 8 October 2022.
  2. ^ "Diogo Peralta Cordeiro 5a856a728d [VersionBump] 2.0.0beta0". 18 July 2021. Retrieved 8 October 2022.
  3. ^ "Translating:GNU social localization". Retrieved 2015-02-08.
  4. ^ "README file". Archived from the original on 2014-11-03. Retrieved 2015-02-09. ...under the terms of the GNU Affero General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.
  5. ^ Terdiman, Daniel (2008-10-6) Taking on Twitter with open-source software Archived 2012-08-26 at the Wayback Machine, CNet. Retrieved 2009-1-3.
  6. ^ Bastien, Malcolm (2008-8-28) Why Laconica Means Big Things For Corporate Micro Blogging Archived 2009-01-25 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2009-1-3.
  7. ^ "List of Independent GNU social Instances - I ask questions". web.archive.org. 2017-02-20. Archived from the original on 2017-02-20. Retrieved 2024-04-04.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  8. ^ diogo. "diogo/gnu-social". notabug.org. Retrieved 2024-04-04.
  9. ^ GNUsocial. "gnu-social". Codeberg.org. Retrieved 2024-04-04.
  10. ^ "Microblogging with ActivityPub [LWN.net]". lwn.net. Retrieved 2024-04-04.
  11. ^ "StatusNet 0.9.0". Archived from the original on July 17, 2012.
  12. ^ "StatusNet 0.9.0 Released". Archived from the original on July 20, 2012.
  13. ^ "GNU social". 2013-06-08. Archived from the original on 2013-08-22. Retrieved 2024-04-04.
  14. ^ StatusNet 0.8.1 (2009-8-28) "StatusNet 0.8.1 - StatusNet". Archived from the original on 2013-01-12. Retrieved 2013-01-12., StatusNet Wiki Retrieved 2009-8-29.
  15. ^ Laconica is now StatusNet "Laconica is now StatusNet « StatusNet – Open Source microblogging service". Archived from the original on 2009-08-31. Retrieved 2009-08-31., retrieved 2009-10-04

External links[edit]