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Diaspora is the privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all, open source social network.

On November 23, 2010 was announced that Diaspora is in private alpha phase.

Since August 27, 2012 Diaspora is ruled by the community (announcement).


  • Since Diaspora can run on MySQL and PostgreSQL you need to decide which on you want to use. Install one of them and set it up.
  • Diaspora starts a so called appserver, on port 3000 by default, which serves the dynamic contents. You need a reverse proxy to handle the static content that forwards requests it can't handle to the appserver. Typical tools for that are Apache or Nginx.
  • You'll also need the usual tools to build packages from the AUR.
  • And ruby-bundler from the AUR.


Obtain the diaspora package from the AUR, do not use AUR helper such as yaourt since this is a split package you want only a part of. For example if you use Yaourt run:

yaourt -G diaspora && cd diaspora

To build and install the MySQL version run:

makepkg -si --pkg diaspora-mysql

To build and install the PostgreSQL version run:

 makepkg -si --pkg diaspora-postgresql

Now edit /etc/webapps/diaspora/database.yml and fill out the needed values. Then edit /etc/webapps/diaspora/diaspora.yml and change at least the url setting to the URL your installation will be reachable under (the one served by your reverse proxy). You can change the port the appserver will listen on under the server section. By default Diaspora requires a SSL setup, you can disable that with the require_ssl setting.

Ensure your database is running and then switch to the diaspora user:

 sudo -u diaspora /bin/bash
 cd $HOME

Create the database and initialize the schema:

 bundle exec rake db:create db:schema:load

If the user you specified in the database.yml file can't create databases leave the 'db:create' out and create a database named diaspora_production by hand.

You can now switch back to your regular user and start Diaspora:

 sudo systemctl start diaspora

The static content your reverse proxy needs to serve will be available under /usr/share/webapps/diaspora/public/


Updating is very analogous. Obtain the newest version of the package and build it, just like in the installation instructions. Watch for .pacnew files and review the changes. Also read the changelog over at Diaspora. Then again ensure the database is running and switch to the diaspora user:

 sudo -u diaspora /bin/bash
 cd $HOME

And update the database schema:

 bundle exec rake db:migrate

Exit and restart Diaspora:

 sudo systemctl restart diaspora

Add yourself as an admin

Switch to the diaspora user and start the Rails console:

 sudo -u diaspora /bin/bash
 cd $HOME
 bundle exec rails console production

Then run the following command, replacing "user" with your username:

 Role.add_admin User.find_by_username("user")

You can exit the Rails console by pressing Ctrl+D.


GDM login screen with diaspora

GDM will insert the user diaspora in its login window because it currently considers the id range 500-1000 as normal users while Arch considers this range for system users as defined in /etc/login.defs. GDM does that probably to keep legacy normal users working. To exclude this user from the login window, add this 'Exclude' line in your /etc/gdm/custom.conf file:


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