Sunday, March 17, 2013

Twitter on Linux - Goodbye Tweetdeck, Hello Polly!

Twitter's impending retirement of its original (v1) API will be the death knell for more than a few third-party clients, one of which is Tweetdeck's original Adobe AIR client.  Sure, Tweetdeck stopped supporting its Adobe AIR clients some time ago, but I and many other Linux users had been quite happy with the Linux variant.  Needless to say, I was not looking forward to searching for a replacement Twitter client.   Ubuntu Linux ships with the Gwibber client, but--to be honest--it wasn't impressive at ALL; the Ubuntu release is actually a downgrade from the development release, because it removes several features that "don't fit" with Ubuntu's Unity GUI.  I spent a bit of time with several decent alternatives, and two of them deserve mention; either Turpial or Hotot would serve as a good 'entry-level' client for a basic Twitter user.  However, I wanted multiple columns, multiple accounts and support for Twitter lists; neither of those clients really fit the bill.  Then, thankfully...I discovered Polly.

Polly is the brainchild of a Brazilian developer by the name of Marcelo Hashimoto (@conscioususer).  It's a straightforward client, written in Python, and I'm EXTREMELY impressed with its features and functionality.  In 15 minutes of playing around with Polly, I had configured its display into a near-clone of the original Tweetdeck UI - separate columns for timeline, mentions, DMs, and the lists I follow (including my own @wesmorgan/bluegrass-area compilation of Central Kentucky sources).  Polly is responsive, low-impact in terms of system resources, and "just works."  Now, the Launchpad page for Polly says that it's still "pre-alpha" code, but it most certainly rises above that label.  Development is ongoing--font/pointsize controls are slated for the next release--and I'm looking forward to watching Polly improve further.

If you're looking for a solid Linux Twitter client, take a LONG look at Polly.  I think you'll be glad that you did.

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