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Gwibber iconMicro-blogging is all the rage nowadays, though if you don’t know what it is you might want to check out Twitter Explained for a little tutorial. The default way to handle micro-blogging and updates is to keep refreshing a page in your browser over and over, but since that can be a bit of a pain, having a desktop client to poll for updates is very handy.

But then let’s face it, Twitter‘s not the only micro-blogging platform out there, and it’s definitely not the only program that lets you have status updates. That’s why having a Twitter-only client doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense. I was using Twitux before, but since then I joined a fully open-source micro-blogging platform called Probably by virtue of being open-source software, it has a large Linux-user population, so I had to join. And Twitux doesn’t work with it. Enter Gwibber.

Gwibber is a status-update client for a lot of services. I’m just using it for Twitter and, but it also works for Digg, Jaiku, Facebook, [NO LONGER WORKS] Pownce, and Flickr. It’s actively developed, and the developer (Ryan Paul of ArsTechnica) seems to be listening to user input, so that’s definitely a plus.

Right now, though, I just really like its flexibility. It uses WebKit for rendering, so it can get pretty fancy. Take a look at the screenshot below. I configured it to use dark blue for updates and light blue for Twitter updates, so they match each site’s theme. You can pick whatever color you want for each, but I thought it was easier to remember this way.

Screenshot of Gwibber

You can also see that where someone replied to me the message is outlined in red. That’s pretty useful. New messages are outlined in light blue to highlight them.


Perhaps my favourite feature is the duplicate detection. See that plus sign on my message? Here’s what happens when you click it:

Screenshot of nested duplicate messages in Gwibber

It detected that I tweeted and dented the same thing and displayed the status update only once. This happens when I post from within Gwibber or when one of my friends that uses both does so. It just helps tidy up the interface a bit, I think. And then of course there’s the requisite “Reply” button in the bottom right corner of whichever notice has focus.

Screenshot of a Gwibber update with visible apply button

If you’d like to try it out:

Please note, though, that Gwibber is still in Alpha. I haven’t noticed any issues with it, but being alpha software does mean there are big changes happening fairly often. I think duplicate detection was added last week. I’m with everyone that’s requesting a “Replies” tab. Ryan says he’ll make it a priority.

Windows and Mac users? You’re out of luck. This application is only supported for Linux, but if you get it to compile and run on other Unix-based OSes, let me know.


  1. Devis
    August 6, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    no I mean normal links, they are opened in the client, no browser. I found the back button right clicking.

    About FB in the "Errors" window I messages like:
    Protocol: "facebook"
    Message: "retrieve messages" and in red "RunTimeError: Session key not set. Make sue auth.getSession has been called." As I said I am unable to "Authorise Gwibber" because clicking on "Request Login Code" nothing happens.

    I think the two things are related, perhaps a page should open in the browser.

    The system is a fresh linux installation, maybe I have to tweak something ?

  2. Devis
    August 6, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    (running on linux Mint 7 KDE, based on kubuntu 9.04)
    It's great, I like the interface and themes, but there's something I don't understand:
    1) when I click on a link why does it open the page in the client windos ? There's no "back" button, and no way to make it open into a browser
    2) the Facebook "Request Login Code" button doesn't do anything, what should happen ?

    • Mackenzie
      August 6, 2009 at 7:19 pm

      Do you mean the hashtags and group tags and such? Those are supposed to open in a tab in Gwibber because what's the point of a desktop app if you're always going to the browser? Normal links should open in browser though.

  3. ffoucaud
    July 5, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Thank you for this post.


  4. Guillermo
    February 17, 2009 at 9:49 am

    Thanks for your tips. I couldn't make Gwibber works with Facebook too

  5. tregeagle
    January 29, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    I have used pidgin to post and follow microblog posts. It is not as cool as gwibber though. I suggest you all upgrade to linux ;)

    • Mackenzie
      March 14, 2009 at 2:31 pm

      ^_^ There's the spirit!

  6. Sean M.
    September 7, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    Is there a decent windows alternative to this? I feel like there's really no point to get into micro-blogging at all without something like this.

    • William
      December 30, 2008 at 12:17 pm

      I think the best your gonna get on Windows right now would be AlertThingy V2. It's an AIR App.

  7. Blake Elias
    September 5, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    Windows users can try coLinux or andLinux, if you want to run Linux apps. If you're not already using one of those, it's probably not worth the trouble to install it just for this one program, but it is possible to do.

    • Mackenzie Morgan
      September 6, 2008 at 11:00 pm

      Someone volunteered yesterday to try to add a KDE-backend to it (instead of just gconf). This would allow it to be ported to Windows more easily.

    • Paul Russel
      September 23, 2008 at 2:49 pm

      "If you’re not already using one of those, it’s probably not worth the trouble to install it just for this one program, but it is possible to do." - Blake

      Just to add some perspective to Blake's comment about it being worth installing andLinux... I tried it. It's a screaming nightmare. There's some very strange bugs in the andLinux beta around network connections, and you can't install or use gwibber without a network connection. Their forums are loaded with <a href=""people trying to to figure this out.

      I finally gave up. I'm sure andLinux will get this sorted out, but for now, like Blake says, it isn't worth it to install andLinux just for Gwibber.

      Boy would it be cool if someone ported this or turned it into an Adobe Air app.


      • Mackenzie Morgan
        September 23, 2008 at 3:52 pm

        It won't be an Air app. It's written in Python, I believe, and uses WebKit rendering. Someone has stepped up and started asking questions about the implementation because they want to port it to KDE. Making it work on KDE will make it extremely easy to port to Windows. At one point it did work with Windows, but it is now closely tied to GConf for GNOME integration. The KDE work would add a backend that is, I think, compatible with Windows, since KDE can run on Windows.

    • Choda Boy
      August 7, 2009 at 11:20 pm

      I wonder if some kind person could create a VMWare "ThinApp" of this?

  8. Charnita Fance
    September 2, 2008 at 5:26 am

    So this cannot be used in Windows?

    • Aibek
      September 2, 2008 at 7:07 am

      Nope, Linux users only :-(

  9. Gabriel
    September 1, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    Is my favorite app for OpenSuse but I still don't know how to put the facebook account on it.

    • Mackenzie Morgan
      September 2, 2008 at 9:19 am

      Accounts -> Create -> Facebook
      Authorize Gwibber button
      Request Login Code button
      (A Facebook page loads in the browser)
      Give it permissions in Facebook
      Copy the login code from your browser to the box
      Authorize Status Change button
      Give it permissions in Facebook
      Close that window
      Go to in your browser
      Click the RSS icon in the address bar
      You'll be redirected to a page where you can view the status update RSS feed. Delete the ".new" out of the beginning of it (may or may not be necessary, Facebook keeps changing how their RSS works) and copy and past e that into the "Feed URL" box.

      • Mackenzie Morgan
        September 2, 2008 at 10:51 am

        Why is my comment not blue?

        • Aibek
          September 2, 2008 at 12:04 pm

          Strange, the 2nd IS blue

      • Thor
        February 4, 2009 at 3:27 pm

        Thank you for the tutorial, I've been looking for this information for a long time.

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