Posting to Tumblr From The Linux Desktop With Grumblr

In mid-June 2011, something interesting happened. The number of blogs hosted by a scrappy upstart blogging platform called Tumblr surpassed those of the venerable (and immensely popular) WordPress.com. That was an impressive feat, considering Tumblr was launched over four years after WordPress.com.

The content on Tumblr consists of tumblelogs, which are somewhere between full-blown blogs and microblogs like Twitter. And a tumblelog is simple to set up and use, which adds to the popularity of Tumblr.

If you’re a Linux user and want to start using Tumblr, you’re not stuck with heading over to the site. There are a couple of Tumblr clients for the Linux desktop. Let’s take a look at how to post to Tumblr using Grumblr.

Let’s assume that you already have a Tumblr account. The next step is to download and install Grumblr. The application runs in any desktop manager that uses GTK. So, if you use a Linux distro that runs GNOME, XFCE, LXDE, or even a newer version of KDE, you should be able to run Grumblr.

Grumblr is written in the Ruby programming language, so you’ll need Ruby installed on your system along with a number of Ruby packages. You can find a list of those packages, along with installation instructions for Gentoo Linux and Ubuntu, at Grumblr website.

If you’re feeling a bit uber-geeky, then you can download and compile the source code for Grumblr.

From there, launch Grumblr. In Ubuntu, for example, press ALT+F2 to open the Run Application dialog box. Then, type grumblr in the dialog box and click Run.

On first start up, you’ll be asked to enter the email address and password for your Tumblr account. Once you do that, you’re ready to go.

Grumblr main window

The difference between Tumblr and other blogging site is the way in which you post various types of content. And Grumblr reflects that. You can post text (like a traditional blog post), links, conversations, quotes, photos, audio, and video. For everything except text, you have something resembling a template with fields for the information for that kind of post.

Here’s an example of the fields used to post a link in Grumblr:

Grumblr blogging template

And Grumblr reflect this. On the left side of the Grumblr window, click a tab to select the kind of content you want to post. Then, type the post in the main part of the editor.

Editing in Grumblr

You’ll notice that unlike other blogging clients, like ScribeFire, there isn’t a formatting toolbar. You can add formatting using Markdown. Click the Markdown button in the bottom right of the Grumblr window and then add the Markdown formatting (which consists of symbols on your keyboard).

When you’re ready to publish your post, click Send. And if you’ve set your blog up to post to your Twitter account, click the Twitter button in the bottom left of the Grumblr window.

Like Tumblr itself, Grumblr is easy to use. It’s a simple but effective way to do short-form blogging from your Linux desktop.