When i explain federation and decentralization to people, i compare it with email.

Email can be hosted by any company, exposing a domain+server to the internet, then you must use their application/web to access it because of the old propietary software model, nowadays there is a lot of open source mail clients anyways.

ActivityPub is just a standard protocol, mastodon is a software that implements it for microblogging (like twitter)

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@nitox ya definitely using this comparison from now on...

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Fosstodon

Fosstodon is an English speaking Mastodon instance that is open to anyone who is interested in technology; particularly free & open source software.