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We have two options to install diaspora in debian. First is to use diaspora-installer package from contrib section and second is to use diaspora package from main.

Both will create necessary database initialization and configuration using postgresql or optionally mysql. Both options provide systemd services and init scripts to manage the services. More details are available in package's README.

# systemctl status diaspora
# systemctl status diaspora-sidekiq
# systemctl status diaspora-unicorn

If you are using sysvinit,

# /etc/init.d/diaspora status

Using diaspora package in main

This is very early version of the diaspora package and not recommended for production yet. See Diaspora#Using_diaspora-installer_package_in_contrib for installing diaspora in production.

Buster Fasttrack/personal repo

Add the following repo

deb buster main
deb buster/updates main
deb buster-backports main
deb buster-backports main
deb buster-fasttrack main

Add repo signing key as trusted key

# wget
# apt-key add

apt -t buster-backports install diaspora diaspora-common/buster-fasttrack ruby-redis/buster ruby-active-model-serializers/buster-backports
apt-mark hold ruby-active-model-serializers


diaspora package is available in debian unstable, but it is broken (diaspora needs rails 5 and unstable has rails 6).

# apt-get install diaspora

Using diaspora-installer package in contrib

This will install gems via (hence it is in contrib). This is production ready and powers pods like and

Buster Backports (Recommended)

Buster Backports has diaspora 0.7.14.

# apt-get -t buster-backports install diaspora-installer

Buster (upgrade to Buster Backports)

Buster has diaspora version It is recommended to update to the version in Buster Backports.

# apt-get install diaspora-installer


If you have contrib section in your sources list, you can just run

# apt-get install diaspora-installer[-mysql]

The source code of diaspora-installer package could be found here.

Maintainers corner

Documentation for diaspora package maintainers.


  1. Add autopkgtest (see gitlab for how to do it)
  2. Team's task tracker

Policy for dependency updates

Help keep the gem versions in sync. If deb version of a library is older than required by diaspora (run 'bundle install --local' on a develop branch checkout of diaspora upstream), update the deb version. If debian already has a new version of a library, update the corresponding gem version in diaspora.

  1. tiny version change, patch gemfile
  2. minor version change, test compatibility
  3. major version change, test compatibility and embed gem if needed

Coordinate with upstream for major version updates.

You can find the packaging work at

See below for the team effort to package the dependencies of Diaspora and Diaspora itself for Debian.

Diaspora packaging and testing

Manually starting the service

We are still working on integrating systemd unit files with the package (See 887085) so we have to start the service manually for now.

# cd /usr/share/diaspora
# export GEM_HOME=/var/lib/diaspora/.gem/
# export $(cat /etc/diaspora/diaspora.conf | xargs)
# sudo -u diaspora -E -H bundle exec sidekiq &
# sudo -u diaspora -E -H bundle exec unicorn -c config/unicorn.rb &

To stop the services,

# fg
Press Control + C (stops unicorn)
# fg
Press Control + C (stops sidekiq)

Replacing a packaged gem with gem

Sometimes we have to use gems from as a work around when packaged versions have bugs or are incompatible.

Setup environment variables (see Manually starting the service section above). Stop unicorn service.

Taking activestorage as an example.

# dpkg -r --force-all ruby-activestorage
# unset GEM_HOME; gem install -v 5.2.3 activestorage
# truncate -s0 Gemfile.lock
# export GEM_HOME=/var/lib/diaspora/.gem/
# export $(cat /etc/diaspora/diaspora.conf | xargs)
# sudo -u diaspora -E -H bundle install --local
# sudo -u diaspora -E -H bundle exec rake tmp:cache:clear
# sudo -u diaspora -E -H bundle exec rake assets:precompile

Start unicorn again.

Note: when using gem install GEM_HOME should not be set, but when running bundle install --local, GEM_HOME should be set.

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