Corebird, the GTK Twitter Client for Linux

Do you live and breathe Twitter? Do you like to tweet every turn letting the world know in 140 characters what your dinner was? Do you use the mobile app and wish there was one for your Linux desktop? Then Corebird is just for you. It’s a desktop client for Twitter that will integrate seamlessly into your Gnome or Unity desktop. Obviously, the app holds most value for the hardcore user, but for us mere mortals (the less die-hard Twitter fans), Corebird can still be appealing.

The Corebird website is unfortunately not very verbose when it comes to installation. They would simply ask the user to check with their distribution’s repositories, and if it’s not there, install it from source. Ubuntu 15.10 has no package named “corebird” in its repos, and if it does not have it, one cannot help, but wonder, what would.

Fortunately, there are various PPAs available, one of which allows for Corebird to be installed in the previous version, 15.04 as well. So to start tweeting from a newer Ubuntu desktop, you can do the following:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntuhandbook1/corebird
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install corebird

For everyone else there is always github and the sources. There are some quite useful instructions, too, that detail the required dependencies and how to compile from source. It is definitely worth checking out for it also acts as a sort of documentation for the software itself, at least as far as keyboard shortcuts go. It is sure to be more helpful then the aforementioned website that features what seems like the shortest FAQ in the history of FAQs.

corebird-shortest-faq

When you first start the application you will of course need to link your Twitter account. This happens through a PIN number that Twitter will supply you with. Just press the “Request PIN” button.

corebird-request-pin

And Twitter (in a browser) will ask you to authenticate the app.

corebird-authorise-app

Once you agree, you will be presented with a PIN that you can copy and paste into the app to start using it. The user interface is simple and straightforward.

corebird-main-screen

On the top bar you can access your account details (1) or compose a new tweet (2), see your timeline (3), your mentions (4), your favourites (5), messages (6), view/create lists (7) or filters (8).

corebird-display-favourites

This is just about everything you can do on Twitter, too. One strange thing is that the displayed images get a bit narrow.

corebird-narrow-image

You can enlarge them with a click which will cause them to cover the whole Corebird window. This works particularly well with album covers which can now literally cover something. (Just click on the image to get back to your tweets.)

corebird-enlarged-image

When you compose a new tweet, your @ and # tags will of course be highlighted, and you can also get suggestions for your mentions. You can add images with the massive + key at the bottom.

corebird-compose-tweet

There is no separate URL shortening capability because Twitter automatically shortens URLs, and the app makes good use of this, too.

You can also access some basic setup options: make some very simple changes of the application’s interface (like maximum allowed media-size), choose how the tweets show up or the notifications behave, ano the most interesting option is the ability to add pre-defined snippets. You can assign keywords to ASCII snippets. If you type these keywords in the compose window and press TAB, they will get replaced with the snippets you specify.

corebird-add-snippets

If you need to quickly change your account details, you can do so by clicking on your avatar (from the main window) and choosing Settings. (You also have the ability to disconnect your account or even open a new one from here.) The only thing that did not seem to work was the retrieval of the cover image, which is a shame, as the account “showcased” here has a really cool over image.

corebird-account-settings

There is only so much one can do with Twitter, but its popularity is mostly due to this very same simplicity. Short messages either in private or shouted out in public seem to retain their popularity since the SMS was invented, and Corebird brings the most popular platform of meaningless sentences and oversimplified communications right onto your desktop.