Tweeting From The Linux Desktop With Turpial

I use Twitter quite a lot. For the longest time, I used Web-based Twitter clients, clients for my smartphone, or browser extensions to interact with my Twitter account. Why? The desktop clients for Linux left me feeling cold. They either did too much or too little, and just weren’t satisfying overall.

One client that does come close to being everything that I need is Turpial. Written in Python, Turpial is fast and easy to use. And it does just enough – it doesn’t pack too many features, but it’s not bare bones either.

Let’s take a look at how to tweet using Turpial.

Getting Started

First off, you’ll need to install Turpial. If you’re using Ubuntu, that’s easy – you can get it from the Turpial PPA. Just open a terminal window and then enter the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:effie-jayx/turpial
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install turpial

If you’re using another Linux distro, and feel like embracing your inner geek, you can download the source code from GitHub and compile it yourself.

Once it’s installed, you can start Turpial by selecting (in Ubuntu, for example) “Applications > Internet > Turpial“.

Turpial splash screen

The first time you start Turpial, you’ll be asked to enter the user name and password for your account. You can also click the Remember my credentials option so you don’t have to do that every time you want to use Turpial. Then, click the Connect button.

Logged in

Moving Around

That’s pretty simple. In its default configuration, Turpial has three tabs: one each for all tweets from you and the people you follow, one for replies, and one for direct messages. But not everyone finds that view useful. Some people want a Twitter client that acts more like the popular TweetDeck Desktop. You can turn Turpial into something resembling a TweetDeck clone (more on this in a moment) and get a three-column view:

Three-column view

Reading’s easy. But what if you want to post? That’s not as obvious as it could be. You need to click the Update Status button (which looks like the Turpial logo). A new window appears, where you can type your tweet and, if you need to, shorten a URL.

Enter a tweet

If you want to reply to a tweet, retweet it, send the person who posted it a direct message, or open a link then just right click on the tweet in the Turpial window. Choose what you want to do from the menu that appears.


Configuring Turpial

After you’ve used it for a while, you’ll probably want to change the way in which Turpial behaves. The default settings are OK, but they’re not for everyone. Modify the application’s settings by clicking the Preferences icon.

Setting preferences

There are six tabs that let you set general options, which columns in Turpial will display notifications of new tweets, the URL shortening service that you want to use, the users that you want to block, the Web browser that you want to use to open links, and a Twitter API proxy to use.

On the General tab, for example, click the Wide Mode option to display all three columns, side by side, in the Turpial window. Or, on the Notification tab, click the Activate sounds option to have Turpial play a sound when a new tweet or message arrives.

How you configure Turpial will depend on your needs and likes. I turn off notifications and sounds, use the URL shortener, and tell Turpial to open all links in the Chromium Web browser.

Final Thoughts

Of all the Twitter clients for Linux that I’ve worked with, Turpial comes closest to being the perfect application. It’s fast, it’s configurable, and it’s easy to use. It might not have every feature and function imaginable, but it does everything the average Twitter user needs it to do.

Scott Nesbitt

Scott is a writer of various things -- documentation, articles, essays, and reviews -- based in Toronto, Canada. He loves to play with tech, and to write about it too. Scott hasn't snagged that elusive book contract. Yet.

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