The search for a decent twitter+facebook client on Linux

The pickings are pretty slim. I want something that can:

  • At least lay out messages in columns. Being able to have columns of tabs would be a bonus.

  • Be able to resize the columns. Tweetdeck is limited as to the number of columns you can have in practise by with width of your screen. Seesmic Desktop is almost there, but not quite. Gwibber has two tabs, but no indication of unread messages in the tab you can’t see (which gets cleared without you ever seeing it if you press ctrl-L).

    [EDIT: Actually, since the 0.2.1 release, Seesmic Desktop has improved a heck of a lot. Apart from the minimise to tray thing (see below), it’s looking pretty slick.]

  • Have a range of visual and audible notifications for different events. If the interface has tabs, a visual cue on the tab (like an unread count and/or different colour) would be nice too.

  • Preferably not written in Adobe Air. Mainly because Linux is a second-class citizen when it comes to support by AA. Sound is flaky and inconsistent*, and they can’t seem to handle minimising to the system tray too well either (come on Tweetdeck, Thwirl has it figured out!)

    [UPDATE] *Actually, it looks like pulseaudio was the culprit there.

  • Oh yeah, can minimise to the system tray (and not go completely off-line and never check if you have new messages, which is completely useless, yes I’m looking at you Seesmic, you still haven’t implemented this for Linux even if you added it on Windows.)

  • Has the concept of read and unread messages, and the ability to clear your columns/tabs of read ones (or mark as all read and clear, thank-you Tweetdeck).

  • What would really be cool is if it could recognise when messages from two different sources are the same (say, as when someone has it setup that their twitter messages go to facebook, and you see them on both.)

  • Recognised all the extra bits and pieces on Facebook like comments and stuff, not just basic status messages. There are a couple of desktop clients that do it, but not many.

It’s one of those interesting projects I would love to do if I didn’t already have a zillion other pet projects lined up in front of it. I even made a mind-map of how I would structure such a beast, modelled on the idea of data sources and data sinks. If the sky was really the limit, I would have things like:

  • Notifications for follow and unfollow.

  • Auto expand tiny URLs.

  • Be and to track RSS feeds from twitter, etc. I tend to find I prefer to follow people, not products and companies. The twitter feeds for products and companies I tend to chuck in my RSS reader instead. The only problem is the formatting of them sucks, and you get all the replies you’re not interested in as well.

  • Store all messages received, so they can be reviewed & searched locally.

  • Cache user icons so they don’t have to loaded over the wire all the time.

  • Possibly make client/server, using XMPP/Jabber or in some other way do something cool with that technology.

  • The ability to read your blog RSS feed, and recognise when a tweet is an auto-post from your blog to twitter, and be able to produce an RSS feed back that has these filtered out. You could then feed that back to your blog to show in a side-bar or even import your lifestreamy type stuff as blog entries.

  • And if I’m still bored, I might even make it so you can send tweets and replies from it too.

So that’s the brain dump, so far.