I’ve been using Twhirl from Seesmic as a Twitter client on Ubuntu 10.04. It works OK, but I’m not crazy about Adobe Air, on which it runs. Air, like the Flash plugin, doesn’t play nice with keyboard input. The last time I looked at Twitter clients, Twhirl was the best of the bunch, but it’s been a while. It’s time to see what’s out there now in the standard repositories.
In Synaptic, there’s gtwitter, twitux, qwit, gwibber, and choqok. There are a few others, such as the IM client Pidgin, that support Twitter, but I find generalized applications result in either a least-common denominator feature set, or “bent” interfaces.
So let’s take a look…
gtwitter: Found my Twitter account automatically, but only shows tweets from four of my follows. I’m immediately confused. Can’t find help of any kind. Next.
twitux: Also found my account and displayed tweets as expected. Keyboard navigation works. Moved to a tweet with a TwitPic and pressed enter. It offered to send a message to the author. Not wrong, but not what I expected either. Brought up help. There doesn’t seem to be a way to do anything other than tweet and DM. The web site says the current version is from January 25th, 2009. Oh, that’s not good.
qwit: I had to enter my Twitter account information, then I got a blank screen and had to press a “more” button to see tweets. Keyboard nav works. Hitting Enter on a URL (including TwitPic) in a tweet brings up the page in your browser. Hmm, when I first started, up and down moved the tweet list. Since tabbing to a URL, they don’t work. There are three icons on each tweet, for favorite, reply and retweet. Tab goes through all of them, plus the @ and URL references. Ugh. I think twitter.com is better. This is the 1.0 beta. The site says there’s a 1.1 beta, but that’s not in the repository.
gwibber: Oops, this is a social networking client. Well, I already installed it, so why not check it out. Menu start did nothing but run the CPU for a while. At the command line, I got a Python error dump. Next.
choqok: It’s a KDE app, and I’m running Gnome. Running at the command line brings up a pretty splash screen that doesn’t go away. I closed it and reran, then the app window showed up blank. I had to go to Settings/Configure ChoqoK to enter my account. Keyboard navigation is OK. And it shows twitpiks in line. Best of the bunch.
Update: After installing Ubuntu 10.04 LTS on my desktop, Gwibber was included and it runs fine. The interface looks nice, but lacks display of referenced photos like TweetPhoto and has an annoying habit of scrolling the display on update.