Over the line

How to install Diaspora on CentOS 7

~2 min read in opensource

The tutorial isn't really hosted on my blog but on DigitalOcean's community page, but I thought I could give some background regarding this decision.


Last November, Nikos, Pierros and me, decided to run a Diaspora pod to accomodate the needs of the Greek community and also increase the number of active pods around the world. Right now we have 662 registered users and the number keeps growing :)

I had some experience in deploying Rails apps during my involvement with GitLab and so I decided to share my findings in order that others could benefit as well. This was also the first time I looked into Ansible so that we could easily deploy our changes.

Our customizations are free for everyone to see and so is our ansible code.


Instead of publishing this on my blog, I decided to go bigger and contacted Digital Ocean to see if they were interested in hosting an article on Diaspora installation. After several weeks of email exchanging, testing and rearranging bits of the tutorial, it is finally live!

Bare in mind that it is highly opinionated, based on the facts I gathered during librenet.gr deployment.

The reasoning behind this, is that DigitalOcean is viewed by way more people than this little blog spot :p

Also it is no secret that DigitalOcean pays to write, so that way I can put some money on server costs :)

Bits to be careful about

After I posted the link to #diaspora on freenode, jhass, one of the core contributors of Diaspora raised some concerns, so this post is also partially trying to explain the desicions behind the steps I included in the tutorial.

First of all, do NOT run Diaspora on production with a self-signed certificate. This will cause future problems, like your pod not being able to talk effectively to other pods. I already sent my concerns to DO, so I expect it to change any time soon.

Secondly, the guide relies on current stable version of Diaspora (v0.4.1.2) and the article will be deprecated in many areas starting with version 0.5. Among others, future versions of Diaspora:

  • will create the database automatically with rake db:create asking for root password if it doesn't have permissions to create the DB
  • will change the database collation from utf8 -> utf8mb4
  • ruby 2.0.0p353 which is in current CentOS repos, will be likely dropped in Diaspora 0.6 since it will be EOL'd in 2016

Also, the next version of Diaspora will have chat support which adds a whole other level of complexity to set up.

Having said that, I will do my best to keep the current tutorial on par with future Diaspora releases.