Best Twitter Clients: Linux

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In our final installment in this series looking at Twitter clients, we’re going to look at tweeting from the Linux desktop. Since there is more than one desktop for Linux, we’ll have four instead of the three each we’ve looked at for Windows and Mac up to this point.

While the Linux platform for personal computing isn’t as common as Windows or Mac, it has a strong corps of users and a relatively large showing on Twitter. Most of these Twitter apps, like the majority of Linux apps, are open-source and free. The four clients we’ll be looking at are: gTwitter, Qt Twitter Linux, Spaz, and Twitux.

Gtwitter (code.google.com/p/gtwitter/ )

This is a GTK+-based app that has basic Twitter functions and not much more. What it lacks in tweeting, it makes up for in extreme customization. This client can be changed in just about every way it looks and acts. Refresh rates, display options, and more are all easily controlled through GTK+. This has made it the most popular client on the GTK+ desktop.

Qt Twitter Linux (kde-apps.org/content/show.php?content=77375)

This client is for the KDE desktop and was obviously developed using Qt. It’s a bare bones Twitter interface and doesn’t do anything beyond what you can easily do from the Twitter website. What it does do is function quickly (it’s a direct API app), and reliably. This is the simplest and (somehow) most popular of the KDE apps for Twitter.

Spaz (funkatron.com/spaz/)

This is easily the slickest of the clients on our list and definitely the most popular. It’s a cross-platform app with Windows and Mac versions as well as support for most Linux desktops. Spaz is an Adobe Air app and is the most robust and feature-rich of the clients on this list. Very slick and functional, Spaz won an award at the AIR Developer Derby in 2008.  An important thing to note with this app is that if you dual-boot operating systems, if it’s installed on both it carries over one to the other as the data files are shared.

Twitux (live.gnome.org/DanielMorales/Twitux)

This client is for the popular GNOME desktop. It’s features cover the basics for Twitter use with timeline and friend notifications, a system tray icon, and a clean, easily-used interface. This client has become very popular on the GNOME desktop and receives regular updates.

Before we go, a final quick look at jibjib has to be given. This little portable J2ME app work in just about every Linux interface, but is technically a “mobile” app made for Java-enabled phones and devices. Very nicely done and at only 30kb.

Of all the desktop platforms we looked at, the Linux platform is the one seeing the most new apps and changes. Like with the Mac, these apps are aiming at being Twitter-specific and aren’t often branching out to other social networking sites. Unlike the other two desktops, though, in the Linux ‘verse, if you don’t see what you want, wait a week and it’ll probably be available on your favorite open source site.

Update: It didn’t take a week, as several of you asked us to look at Gwibber.  It wasn’t included in our testing because it was lower in user-base than the rest, but it’s apparently popular with our readers.  It’s definitely a nice one.

Gwibber (ohloh.net/p/gwibber)

This is a GNOME app that has a small, but loyal following. It supports multiple social networking sites: Twitter, Jaiku, Facebook, etc.  It’s a nice, straight-forward app with more functionality than you generally find in small Linux applications like this.  Fast, functional, and clean, this is an open-source product that continues to see fast development.


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