April 30, 2008

Six Twitter clients for the Linux desktop and one for the road

By Lisa Hoover

Qt Twitter Linux is a barebones KDE client developed with Qt and C++. Since it was built using Twitter's APIs, messages sent via this tool appear instantaneously in Twitter's timeline as if they were sent directly from the Web-based interface (all Tweets show what app the sender uses by default). While Qt Twitter Linux doesn't come with handy features such as search and archive, it's great for dashing off quick messages.

Twitux is a Twitter client designed especially for the GNOME desktop. It has several basic features, including direct messaging, notification of friend updates, timeline auto-update, and a system tray icon.

gTwitter is a GTK+-based app that lets you read both the public and your friends' timelines and, of course, post to Twitter. You can adjust its refresh rate, save images from others, and choose how you want Tweets to be displayed. Future plans for this app include the ability to save your history, receive notifications of new Tweets, and direct message your friends.

Spaz is an exceptionally slick cross-platofrm Twitter client that uses Adobe Air. It supports multiple themes, event sounds, and user-defined CSS overrides. With Spaz, you can delete Tweets you've sent, Favorite your friends' Tweets, and send direct messages or replies to any Twitter user. Spaz keeps track of who you follow as well as who follows you, and auto-refreshes to keep you on top of all incoming direct or timeline messages. Spaz won an award last fall in the AIR Developer Derby, and with good reason. It's clean, easy to use, and looks great.

If you don't want to leave your favorite text editor just to Tweet your friends, check out the Twitter plugins for Vim and Emacs. Both allow only the most basic functions, such as updating your status and reading your friends' Tweets, but they're perfect for tossing off a quick Tweet without launching a whole new app.

If you're away from your desktop, you can try jibjib, an open source J2ME Twitter client for Java-enabled mobile phones. The app has a tiny footprint of about 30KB and is designed for one-handed use, as well as for phones with scroll wheels or buttons. It's got a number of shortcuts, including a quick reply feature and multithreading for easier Tweet reading.

If none of these Twitter apps for Linux does exactly what you want, there are several other projects you can try at SourceForge.net, including the Java-based client jTwitt; twitterl, which puts a Java wrapper around the Twitter API; and Pwytter, a cross-platform client written in Python.

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