Turpial - A native Linux Twitter app, is it enough to see me dropping Seesmic? Read on to find out!

Over recently weeks I’ve been mostly relying on a Twitter app provided online, running it through Prism allows me to effectively have a native app on my desktop and my view is that if my net connection went down there was little point in a Twitter app anyway online or not.

In the past Ive been unimpressed by native, locally installed Twitter apps, so it was with a little hesitance I checked out Turpial, which came to me courtesy of a link which was announced on Twitter.

The Turpial website can be located here although Chromium was unable to translate it at the time, so you may be better off going to this blog and reading about it there.

Right, lets get the features listed.  As you would expect of any Twitter client, Turpial allows you to set the frequency of updates.  These can be set in minute intervals with the default being a rather long 3 minutes.   You can also seperately set the time delay of mentions and direct messages – all very nice, although somewhat over complicating the issue in my opinion.

Contained within the package is the ability to shorten URL’s, this is achieved by offering one of quite a few services including is.gd, Tinyurl and a host of others.  This is very useful as I think Tinyurl is not so tiny any more compared to services offered by others.  There is also a variety of options offered for uploading photographs to your tweets which are all simply selected from the menu system.

Other features would be allowing you to select the browser you wish to use (for looking at Tweet web links) which means that it doesn’t have to be your default browser.

Editing your profile is very easy and certainly far simpler than trying to do it with the Twitter Website…now you can tweak away until your hearts content and the profile screen is only a click away!

Conclusions

The whole package is put together very well.  The menu is inuitive and easy to to understand, which (once you have logged in) will be easy to navigate and tailor to your needs.  Turpial 1.3.3 appears a stable product and even during busy periods it has not yet offered up any problems.

The download size is small and whilst it probably won’t be in the repository of your distro, you can get the .deb here, which at least is in English.

So what didn’t I like?  Firstly the GUI is slightly sluggish compared to other apps Ive used, and even running Seesmic through Prism offers a more punchier response than Turpial.  That being said, its hardly a slow performer and probably if I had gone straight to Turpial then I never would have had an issue.

The default bird whistling to signal an incoming message is very annoying and put me in mind of an iPhone Twitter app that a collegue has at work that equally gets under my skin.  I would also have liked to see support (and maybe dual login for Identi.ca) which seems absent from the package.

I do think Turpial is a good package and should compliment a new Linux users distro well,  for me though I think that Turpial doesn’t quite offer enough for a permanent place on my desktop and when one of the arguments against relying on apps in the cloud is that a down net connection prevents usage, I think in the case of Twitter its hardly relevant and really a native Twitter app with no net connection is just as useless as a cloud based one without connection.

In my opinion there are better ways to use Twitter, with this being the final version (allegedly) of  Turpial I doubt we will get to see that change.  Sure there are some nice features that offer choices of URL shortening and gfx hosting, but then Linux users I suggest, tend to have customized these features themselves in whatever is currently the package of choice.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com

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