How to use the same Scuttlebutt identity on multiple computers.


(Note: Manyverse / mobile users please see the warning at the end.)

Offically Scuttlebutt doesn’t support posting from the same identity on multiple computers (as of Dec 2017). Unofficially, it’s easy but requires a little bit of care. In practice this means never run the Scuttlebutt client on two computers at the same time.

The gotcha is that if you post from both computers before the changes of one have had a chance to replicate to the second via scuttlebutt one or both of your feeds will get screwed up and other people won’t see some of your own posts ever again.

Note: These instructions require using the command line. I’ll show you how to do it on a Mac. Hopefully that’ll be enough of a clue for Other OS’s too.

Step one.

On the computer where Scuttlebutt is already running, Take your ~/.ssb/secret and make a backup of it in some secure encrypted location like 1Password, because you really don’t want to loose that and you don’t want to give folks keys to your identity.

Open your Terminal app and type

open ~/.ssb

(then return). A window will open up in the finder showing the contentns of your ~/.ssb directory. Copy the secret file from that directory and put it somewhere safe. Then send it and the gossip.json file to the 2nd computer.

Step two

On the 2nd computer create a ~/.ssb directory in there and put a copy of your secret and gossip.json files in there.

Open up your terminal app and type:

mkdir ~/.ssb
open ~/.ssb

Now drag a copy of your secret and gossip.json file into the window that just opened.

Step three

Confirm Patchwork is off on the 1st computer. Boot Patchwork on the 2nd computer. It will ask you to fill in a profile. DO NOT FILL IT IN. Instead click “Cancel”. Then wait. It’s going to have to re-download everything you had before, including your profile. After it’s done syncing quit, then relaunch Patchwork to make it re-attempt to connect to other pubs. Currently (Dec 2017) it doesn’t always sync with all the pubs you were connected to the first time it loads.


Do NOT make Patchwork an app that opens at startup. Do not start Patchwork immediately after waking up a computer. Always quit patchwork on one computer before opening it on the second one. Then wait for all the posts to finish syncing before you publish anything or update your profile.

Manyverse users

Currently the SSB Mobile client Manyverse is still very new. Mobile devices add a whole bunch of weird edge cases to how and when things function. My personal advise is to not try sharing your identity with a mobile device at this point in time. In theory, as long as you let the posts from your computer(s) sync to your mobile device before posting from there, and vice-versa, you should be ok. That being said, the consequences of this going wrong are being forced to abandon your old identity because 12 of the world can’t see any new posts from it. It’s just not worth the risk.

I don’t have an Android phone so I can’t test it. Instructions are available in Scuttlebutt though if you’re willing to take the risk.