This #Florence Pre-release 0.1 – The fork is alive

Today is the day! We're releasing the first version of the Florence Mastodon fork, Pre-release 0.1.0 (i.e. v0.0.1.0). We're offering this release as a place to switch over from main Mastodon, and still stay on parity feature-wise with 2.9.0. The goal is that once we get to Pre-Release 1.0.0, people who are currently running Glitch will have all the features they are looking for and be able to switch over if they so wish. We are not necessarily looking to replace neither Mastodon nor Glitch, but rather complement them with our own features and community work, but we want to make it easy for people to switch over.

The road here has been long, and slow. While the interest was huge a year ago, when we released the #ForkOff survey it was maybe a little bit too big. The balloon deflated during the fall, and somewhere after New Year's a new spark was lit, and a small group of us started working, by chosing a name, Florence, and spooning our way forward over the past few months. We had an internal goal to publish this first release by the anniversary of the survey going live, however we wanted to stay true to our goal and that is to never rush anything. It's better that we do things right and get to where we want to go by the routes we want to take. Not everything is going to be perfect all the time, but hopefully we can catch a few issues along the way as we figure it out.

We are currently working with small attainable goals on a weekly basis, as we have a weekly meeting every Sunday at 16:00 UTC. This makes it easy for us to gauge if we need more hands on something, like if something is a lot more work than we expected. It also makes it easy for people to join in, because there's always small things which people can help out with. We're still working on finishing our living document, and publishing our CoCs in their completed state, while also getting this release out. This way of working helps us make priority decisions on the regular, and it allows us to see where we're missing help, and ask for that help. We are approximately 50 people (including some bots) on our chat server, and you can join us if you are interested in any of the work we're doing, or the conversations that we have there.

If you're curious about our previous updates you can read the first blog post and our April update.

This development blog

This is the first post for this development blog which is going to serve two functions. One is to publish releases together with change-logs, providing a place where you can both follow an RSS feed and subscribe to our emails (below this post). The other will be to provide a platform to start conversations about future features, and we'll be figuring out a good practice for this. As this blog is directly connected to the fediverse, you can follow from any fedi-compatible software!

This Pre-release 0.1.0, what is it actually about?

As mentioned this release is based off of Mastodon 2.9.0, and will continue to be a platform for improvements on vanilla Mastodon. People wishing to upgrade will be able to switch from the latest vanilla-flavour to the latest florence-flavour with minimal issues. Once we reach Pre-Release 1.0.0, we'll recommend that people currently on Glitch-flavour switch to Florence-flavour if they want a more stable experience, although glitch-social will still remain the recommendation for cutting-edge features. Once we feel like we've captured the spirit of what we want Florence to be, we'll release the first non-pre-release.

Yes yes, but what's in it?

Currently there are only two significant changes, both inspired by

First, admins can configure the maximum length of toots and user bios directly from the dashboard. Any instance can now easily set these sizes to whatever they like.

Second, users can now choose if they want to see direct messages in their home timeline. This feature is only applied going forward, so only DMs received after the feature has been enabled will be sent to the home timeline.

What happens next?

As we keep working towards Pre-release 1.0.0 we are looking at all the features other flavours of Mastodon have developed, and we're going to try to incorporate the ones which we have all been craving for so long and create one solid Florence-Masto experience, FloMo if you so please. If you have a feature on your own Masto-fork which you'd like to see in Florence feel free to either add to this conversation on GitHub, or send a PR our way.

We're hoping that this summer will be the #SummerOfFlorence where we finish off the summer with a Florence 1.0.0 release. We are looking to finish the Code of Conduct work, finalize the results from our “What do we want to do, where do we want to go, how do we want to work”-document, prepare accepting funding and how to distribute that between our volunteers, get more infrastructure in place, and get more teams working together towards separate goals. We'll keep spooning our way forward, and expand as necessary/when possible.

Special Thanks

While this section is semi-part of the changelog, today we wanted to pull it out and simply put it on top.

Thank you @1011x, @jhaye, @lightdark, @maloki, @skrlet13, @melody, @stolas, @hak, @mecaka: those who've been helping with governance, offering advice, and/or been working on this for the past few months.

Thank you Woozle for hosting both the Wiki and Mattermost for us on their servers.

Thank you to all the forkers out there who are providing us both with inspiration, actual code, and conversation about how we can make the Fediverse a little bit better.

Thank you to everyone that has been cheerleading us for the past year, helped us have the courage to “Fork Off” from Mastodon, and also understood that we are working towards different objectives. That is after all why you all joined us in the first place! An additional thank you goes to those that joined the Mattermost server to keep the conversation alive with us after we moved on from Discord.

Thank you mecaka who joined the team while maloki was getting diagnosed and helped push through that time and bring us to where we are now.


This changelog will only include differences from upstream Mastodon. You can find the upstream changelog here.

Please note that this project doesn't follow semantic versioning— for details please have a look at our README file.

Pre-Release 0.1.0 [2019-06-16 / v0.0.1.0]

This release is based off of Mastodon 2.9.0 plus the commits up to 65efe892cf.