4 of the Best Native Twitter Clients for Linux

Get to tweeting on Linux

Cartoon illustration of a row of bluebirds on phone line chatting with speech bubbles.

Sean Gladwell/Getty

Twitter started in 2006 and quickly took the world by storm. The big selling point was the ability for people to instantly discuss anything and everything. 

It is by no means the only social network but the way it has been designed sets it apart from its competitors.

When it started, MySpace, one of the first big social media networks, was still a big thing. People would create a MySpace page where they could create their own theme, add music and chat in forum styled chat rooms. Then Bebo came along and did a very similar thing.

Facebook quickly left MySpace and Bebo behind by offering exclusivity. People could make it so only their friends could interact with them and view their messages.

Twitter, however, has never really been about exclusivity. It has always been about sharing information in the quickest way possible and at only 280 characters at a time (originally 140).

Hashtags are used to define the subject matter making it easier for people to get in on group discussions and users are denoted with the @ symbol.

While you can use the Twitter website for viewing your Twitter timelines it is much quicker to use a dedicated tool leaving your web browser free for doing other things.

This guide highlights 4 software packages native to Linux.

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Corebird Twitter Client

Gary Newell

Corebird is a desktop Twitter application for Linux which looks and feels closest to the Twitter web application.

When you first start Corebird you will be asked to enter a pin.

Basically, Twitter does its best to protect your security. To allow another application to access your Twitter feed you need to generate a pin and then enter it into the Corebird application.

The main display is split into 7 tabs:

  • Home
  • Mentions
  • Favorites
  • Direct messages
  • Lists
  • Filters
  • Search

The home tab shows your current timeline. Any message composed by somebody that you follow will appear on your home tab. This will also include tweets from other people who are interacting with the people you follow.

Clicking on a message in the timeline opens it in its own display. You can interact with the message by replying, adding it to favorites, retweeting, and quoting.

You can also click on the person's image who sent the tweet. This will show you every tweet this person has sent.

You can choose to follow or unfollow people by clicking on the appropriate button next to each user.

Links open directly in your web browser and images are displayed within the main Corebird screen.

The mentions tab shows a list of every message that has been used with your username (also known as a handle) in it.

Anybody who mentions a handle will appear on the mentions tab within Corebird.

The Favourites tab includes every message that the user has ticked as a favorite. A Favourite is denoted by a love heart symbol.

Direct messages are messages sent from one user to another and are private.

You can group different users by category which are known as lists. You can then easily see the tweets just by these people.

The filters tab shows a list of people who you are ignoring for one reason or another. It is easy to block people who spam your feed.

Finally, the search tab lets you search by topic or by user.

Above the list of tabs are a couple more icons. One is your twitter photo and by clicking on it you can adjust settings for the twitter handle and go to your own profile.

Next to the profile image on the Corebird screen is an icon which allows you to compose a new message. You can use this to type in a tweet and attach an image.

Corebird is straightforward to set up and use and saves the hassle of logging into the main Twitter client in a web browser.

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Mikutter Twitter Client

Gary Newell

Mikutter is another Twitter desktop client for Linux.

The interface is slightly different from that of Corebird. 

The screen consists of a bar at the top where you can add a new tweet. Under this is the main Twitter pane where your timeline will be displayed.

On the right side of the screen there are various tabs which are as follows:

  • Home Timeline
  • Replies
  • Activities
  • Direct messages
  • Search
  • Ask Mrs. Sloane

When you first start Mikutter you have to follow a similar process for setting up the tool as you do for Corebird.

Basically, you are provided a link which opens Twitter in your web browser. This will provide you with a PIN which you must then enter into Mikutter.

Creating tweets in Mikutter is more instant that with Corebird as you can just enter it straight onto the screen. However, there is no option for attaching images. 

The timeline refreshes itself every few seconds. Clicking on image links opens the file in the default application for viewing images. Other links open in your default web browser.

The replies tab is the same as the mentions tab in Corebird and shows recent tweets in which your Twitter handle was used.

You can interact with tweets by right-clicking on them. This brings up a context menu with options for replying, retweeting and quoting. You can also view the profile of the person who tweeted the text.

The activities screen shows retweets for items in your timeline. This helps you view popular links as the more popular something is the more likely it is to have been retweeted.

The direct messages tab shows a list of the users who you have interacted with.

The search tab lets you search on a particular topic.

Mikutter has a settings option which lets you customize the way it works. For instance, you can choose whether to automatically shorten URLs when adding them to a tweet you are composing.

You can also choose to be notified when one of your tweets is favorited, retweeted or replied to.

You can change the retweets on the activities screen so it only shows retweets that are related to you.

The timeline can also be customized so that it refreshes in the number of seconds you want it to. By default, it is set to 20 seconds. 

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ttytter Twitter Client

Gary Newell

Now you might be wondering why a console based Twitter client has been included in this list.

Who wants to see their tweets in a console window when there are perfectly good graphical tools available.

Imagine you are on a computer that doesn't have a graphical environment set up.

The ttytter client works perfectly well for basic twitter use.

When you first run ttytter you will be provided with a link which you must follow. This gives you the pin number which you must enter into the terminal for ttytter to access your twitter feed.

The first thing you will want to do is get a handle on all the potential commands.

Typing directly into the window constitutes a new tweet so be careful.

To get help enter /help.

All commands start with a slash.

Entering /refresh gets the latest tweets from your timeline. To get the next items in the timeline type /again.

To see direct messages type /dm and to see the next items type /dmagain.

Type /replies to see replies.

To find out information about a particular user type /whois followed by their twitter handle.

To follow a user type /follow and then the username. To stop following use /leave username. Finally to send a direct message, use /dm username.

Whilst obviously not as easy to use as the graphical tools you can still use Twitter even when you are locked in the console.

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Gary Newell

The final option isn't a dedicated Twitter client.

Thunderbird is more commonly known as an email client along the lines of Outlook and Evolution.

However, using Thunderbird you can use the chat feature which lets you view your current timeline and write new tweets.

The interface isn't as powerful as Corebird or indeed Mikutter but you can tweet, reply, follow and do the basics. You can also easily view a list of people you follow.

There is also a good timeline treeview style display which lets you view messages for a particular date and time.​

The best thing about using the Twitter chat in Thunderbird is that you can use it for multiple tasks. For instance, you can use it as an email client, RSS reader, and chat tool. 


While many people use their phones or the web interface for interacting with Twitter, using a dedicated tool on the desktop actually makes it easier to chat and browse the web.