Mastodon Crashed and Died

 Sun, 28 Jan 2024 21:21 UTC

Mastodon Crashed and Died
Image: CC BY 3.0 by ABelov2014 | Re-worked by cybrkyd

On Friday, 26 January 22024, whilst in the middle of what was supposed to be a standard upgrade from 4.2.3 to 4.2.4, Mastodon decided to give up the ghost. The upgrade called for an update to Ruby as well, from 3.2.2 to 3.2.3. No problem, I’ve got this! I’ve done this before, said I.

Except, I could not get the damned thing to update my Ruby; it would not budge. No errors seen, nothing. Yes,I was updating from the right user account but when I tried to move on to updating Mastodon itself, I ran into all sorts of what I can only describe as permission errors.

Weird! I eventually gave up and thought: I’ll do this some other time. Right! Time to post something…nope! A 500 error appears at the bottom-left of my screen. Tried again, it goes through. Shrug! Post again, no issues. I then tried to post an image and the 500 error appears again and again at each attempt. I eventually gave up after trying to restart all services and running into the same 500 error. Then it stopped allowing me to post anything at all.

I tried poking around to see if I can get a clue of what is going on. On the Admin > Server page, I noticed something even stranger - my Ruby version was reporting version 3.0.something! WTH! I was supposed to be on 3.2.2 and I didn’t even have 3.0.anything installed on my server.

A few more minutes of poking around and it became all too clear to me…this was something that I had no clue about and no idea about where to begin even looking. Ruby is not my thing. I’m not in control here!

So, options, options. Kill the server and re-install it and start again on Mastodon or kill the server and install something that I actually know how to maintain and fix when things go wrong.

For me, the choice was simple and took 4.5 seconds to decide: option #2. Say goodbye to Mastodon. I love it (when it works) but it is very, very complicated, almost unnecessarily so.

I decided to go with Hubzilla, something I had used before and loved. It has it’s little issues, sure, but I’m comfortable on it. And that is where I am now. Stop by, say hi:

Oh, I did need to switch over from Nginx to Apache for this move and I then ran into some further weirdness with my original sub-domain, First, it would just not connect - some DNS thing maybe? Then it did but for 10 minutes and then would not connect again and so on and so forth for the next two hours. I just shrugged again and moved on! It was one of those days.

And that’s how I landed on running a Hubzilla server.