Dipping the toe in Mastodon development

I tried to run Mastodon on my laptop and I almost fully succeeded.

One of the interesting things about Mastodon is that it may be a nice way for you to start hacking into an important project which is gaining a lot of traction. In fact, I have heard so many people in the past asking "How could I start contributing to an open-source project?" and the answer is not plain simple: there are so many options out there! Mastodon (and ActivityPub of course) is a very interesting system to learn and it's relatively easy to run on your machine.

So you want to run the project locally and start experimenting, changing things, breaking others, getting acquainted with the codebase, and so on. Eventually, and hopefully, you will then open your first pull request! Get your name out there :)

I wanted to do just that, but at the same time, I didn't want to install all the dependencies of quite a complex project on my system but leverage the beauty of virtualization to do that. Unfortunately, if you are using an M1 (or Pro, or Max) you'll end up having a challenging time understanding how to do it. I have found out that the best solution is to use a virtual machine running (Ubuntu) Linux and follow the manual installation instruction from the official guide. In fact, the official guide assumes that you will be running the dev environment within a Linux box, but I have found that to be able to run Mastodon inside a virtual machine, several small tweaks are necessary, and this is why I wrote a guide to do just that

Happy hacking!