Frequently Asked Questions

These are some of the questions that people regularly ask us.

If you can’t find the answers you’re looking for here, feel free to contact us on Mastodon, Twitter or Discord.


Tech

What languages/technologies are you using?

  • C for the server (and command line client).
  • Elm + Stylus (with Helium) for the client.

Elm is a unique programming language and runtime for creating web apps. We find it has really good stability, performance and efficiency.

Why are you using C for the server instead of [X language]?

C is what we have the most experience with and are most comfortable with.

If you want to contribute to a project that uses a language that isn’t C, there are other fediverse projects out there that would probably appreciate your help :).

Why are you licensing Parastat under CNPL?

Current mainstream open source licenses have no real working concept of what ethical use looks like.

What we mean by this is that if a piece of software is licensed with a mainstream open source license, it can usually be used for lots of quite frankly evil purposes, like fossil fuel extraction and concentration camps. These are things which take other peoples’ freedoms away and cause serious harm.

Mastodon, because of it’s mainstream licensing, has been able to become the basis for the newest incarnation of Gab, which is a reactionary social hub frequented by many dangerous far-right individuals.

None of this has to be this way. And that’s the basic gist of why we’re using CNPL.

You can also check out a brief summary of the license in the creator’s own words on their website.

Is CNPL actually open source?

Yes, because it is open to people in certain situations. There are many mainstream open source licenses which restrict how and when people can use something, it’s just that those restrictions usually aren’t ethical in nature.

What CNPL isn’t is what some open source organisations call a ‘free’ license (ie. GNU’s ‘Freedom 0’). We’re absolutely fine with that and we don’t agree with their definition of ‘freedom’ (see the above question for why that is).

Why do you want to make a new federated protocol?

We believe that ActivityPub has limitations, and we can’t overcome those without it not being ActivityPub because of the various things that it requires to function.

Will Parastat still be compatible with ActivityPub?

Yes. We will support ActivityPub, but our own protocol will be used between Parastat instances (and other software that also support it).

Will your new protocol use blockchain?

No!!! :D

Why are you making new fediverse software, instead of improving an existing one?

We already tried, and we found it to be very time consuming and unrewarding.

Over the years, it became clear that we had to do something of our own, something with the right technologies and development priorities for us.

Why are you on Discord?

It’s important to us that a diverse range of people are able to be involved.

Discord is used by a lot more people than other similar services, it’s easier to get started with and it’s something more non-technical people are able to use and already have.

Could you use XMPP/Matrix/Telegram/etc. instead of Discord?

We have a bridge from Matrix to Discord currently. Feel free to ask if you would like a bridge to something else.

How do I follow development progress and decisions?

We will be setting up stuff for that soon. For the moment, your best option is to subscribe to our Newsletter for concise progress updates.

Where can I get the source code?

It’s currently only on our private repo for now, there’s some things we’ve got to do to it before it’s ready for the public :).