Finding a good microblogging client to support Twitter and Facebook is easy. Finding support for Identi.ca and other microblogging sites powered by StatusNet is a little more tricky outside the Linux desktop. For users on other platforms, StatusNet has taken matters into its own hands and released StatusNet Desktop, a multi-platform client that supports Identi.ca and StatusNet sites.
For those who are not knee-deep into social media, StatusNet is a free
software, federated, microblogging platform. Like Twitter, StatusNet allows
users to post short status updates — usually 140 characters long, but
this is configurable for those running private or hosted installs of
StatusNet. As a federated platform, StatusNet lets users communicate
between different sites running StatusNet, removing the single point of
control (and failure) present with Twitter and Facebook. StatusNet the company has been offering commercial support for the microblogging platform, and offering hosted instances to companies that want their own microblogging sites. However, to be successful, users need to be able to find decent client software for StatusNet that compares to the third-party clients for Twitter.
Since Identi.ca's user base isn't even a tenth of Twitter's, support for
StatusNet has not been a high priority for developers behind popular
microblogging clients like TweetDeck,
CoTweet, Seesmic, and others. You can find applications for other platforms but Identi.ca/StatusNet is definitely not as well-loved as Twitter.
The Linux desktop is probably not the primary focus for StatusNet
Desktop, and it doesn't really bring anything new to the table for Linux
users. Identi.ca and StatusNet users are well-handled already by Gwibber, Choqok, and other microblogging
clients for Linux. But Identi.ca and StatusNet are not well-supported by
Windows and Mac OS X tools. Popular tools either lack Identi.ca support
altogether or have have rudimentary support that requires workarounds to enable Identi.ca or StatusNet accounts.
The application is written with Appcelerator Titanium, an
Apache-licensed open source platform for building desktop and mobile
Installing StatusNet Desktop on Linux is fairly easy. Just uncompress the tarball and run the StatusNet Desktop executable. It will offer to install in the local directory or under /opt for system-wide use.
The StatusNet Desktop client isn't without bugs on Linux. After running
the installer, the application crashed immediately. A quick search on the
wiki found a description of the
problem and the resolution. The client also crashed a few
times during testing. Most of the time it was fine, though.
StatusNet Desktop is a decent, but basic, microblogging client. It
doesn't support some features you'll find in the Web application, such as
geolocation support. It also doesn't provide support for viewing groups, a
unique feature on Identi.ca and StatusNet microblogs that allows users to
see messages that were sent by other group members that they don't
subscribe to directly. Nor does it offer lists to watch a subset of the
users that you follow, something Tweetdeck and other Twitter clients do
well. At least at this stage, it is not a power-user's microblogging
tool. Annoyingly, it will only pull up the last 25 posts from the users
that you follow, so if you haven't looked at your personal timeline
recently, you'll still need to visit the Web site to see a longer
Many Identi.ca users are also Twitter users, but they won't be posting to Twitter using the StatusNet Desktop application anytime soon. In a reply to the request for Twitter support on the StatusNet blog, StatusNet founder Evan Prodromou replied that there was no need to write another Twitter client, seeing as users could find hundreds of Twitter desktop clients. This may be true, but at least this user would prefer to use a single application to manage all of the accounts, rather than maintaining two (or more) clients to post to Twitter, Identi.ca, and other social networks. If the idea is to drive adoption of Identi.ca and StatusNet, it might not be a bad idea to also bundle Twitter support in the StatusNet Desktop to help support users with multiple accounts.
Linux users who want a Identi.ca client will probably do better to
choose another more full-featured microblogging application with support
for multiple networks. But the introduction of an official StatusNet client
for Windows, Mac OS X, and (eventually) the most popular smartphone OSes
may help drive adoption of StatusNet with users on those platforms. In
particular, it may help drive adoption of the StatusNet platform by large
organizations that would like to rebrand the desktop client. Lead developer
Zach Copely says in a recent post on the StatusNet blog that it is a response to StatusNet's customers' needs, more than an offering that is needed by the open source community.
Copely also points out that, while some third-party applications offer StatusNet support, no one is really focusing on the software. A dedicated client allows the company to find bugs in the APIs offered by StatusNet and make sure it works well:
With the upgrade of our federation system to OStatus, our Atom feeds have become especially rich -- rich enough that client applications can get most of the data they need from them. While the Twitter API remains the de facto standard and we'll continue to support it, we'd also like to move ahead with our own API design. We're going to take this opportunity to expand our Atom-based API even further. StatusNet Desktop gets most of its data from StatusNet's Atom feeds, and in the future we hope our clients will be able to post using the AtomPub protocol.
So far the development has been handled by StatusNet. Now that it's released, one hopes it will be extended by the StatusNet-using community to take full advantage of the platform and perhaps work with other networks. Discussion for development is handled on the StatusNet-dev mailing list. The final verdict on StatusNet Desktop is that it's a competent microblogging application that works well with StatusNet, but doesn't yet offer much compelling beyond what's available with Gwibber, Chokoq, and others.
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Part of the reason it took me so long, is that Rakudo is
sloooooooooooow. No getting around that one for the time being. If
your expectation of Rakudo * includes blazing
speed... fuhgedabowdit! But if you don't mind taking a coffee break
while your code runs far enough to produce a nice stack trace, give
Rakudo a whirl. Luckily, I cut my hacking teeth writing mainframe
code, where I did just that for years. That's why, I'm sure, I am
forever addicted to coffee.
As a side note, years ago, I wanted to write something in Haskell
that worked like Clojure's memoize (which is implemented in a
half-dozen or so lines of code in Clojure's core), and asked about
it on the Haskell mailing list. I was pointed to a PhD
dissertation on the topic of how to write memoize in Haskell. All
I could think was, "Do I really want to be using a language where
memoize is a PhD-level topic?"
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GroupServer is a mailing list management system: "GroupServer works
like traditional mailing list managers but it also has a web forum
interface for reading and making posts, and list administration.
The second 1.0 beta release is now available, with the final release coming
in the near future.
Full Story (comments: 2)
Hatta 1.4.0 is a simple wiki engine meant to be run from a Mercurial
repository. "It's mostly for small development teams to use for documentation of
the project right in the repository. It's mostly a plain, traditional
wiki, without fancy features to distract from doing real work.
features in the just-announced 1.4.0 release include image thumbnails,
Mercurial 1.6 compatibility, and more.
Full Story (comments: none)
Mozilla has announced the release of Firefox
3.6.7 and Firefox 3.5.11
, and Thunderbird
3.1.1 and Thunderbird 3.0.6
. These releases fix several security and
stability issues. See the release notes for details: Firefox
, and Thunderbird
Update: the SeaMonkey 2.0.6 release
is also now available.
Comments (16 posted)
The OpenStack project has announced
; its goal is to create a free (Apache 2.0), scalable
for cloud computing. "Today, OpenStack consists of two projects. The
first is a fully distributed object store based on Rackspace's Cloud Files
offering called 'OpenStack Object Storage'. The code is available today at
OpenStack.org. The second piece is a scalable compute-provisioning engine
based on the NASA Nebula cloud technology and Rackspace Cloud Servers
offering called 'OpenStack Compute.' Developers can download components of
OS Compute beginning today at OpenStack.org. The first release is expected
to be available later this year.
Comments (1 posted)
PacketFence is a GPL-licensed network access control system, useful for the
imposition of all kinds of network use policies. Version 1.9.0 has been
the most significant changes appear to be 64-bit Linux support, node
category support, and support for "floating network devices."
Full Story (comments: none)
Version v0.9 of the Transifex translation platform is available. There's a
lot of new stuff in this release, including a new extension engine, a "team
sharing" feature useful for large umbrella projects, "project widgets" for
the embedding of translation statistics in other web sites, and more.
Full Story (comments: none)
Newsletters and articles
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KDE.News sat down for an interview
with Dirk Hohndel, Intel's chief Linux and open source technologist, at Akademy. Hohndel talked about various things including Aaron Seigo's keynote, happiness at work, and his relationship to KDE. "Dirk H: I know a lot of the early KDE community members like Kalle and Matthias. I used KDE software from the start to the 2.0 release, and lost contact for a while. I'm interested in the Linux client so since a couple of years I'm trying to figure out where it is going. I follow both Gnome and KDE development, see what is going on in the open source world. I've been repeatedly trying the latest KDE Plasma Desktop (which still fails for me for a number of reasons). The KDE community interestingly has undergone a lot of changes - very much unlike the Linux kernel where the 'oldtimers' are still very much involved. Seriously, of the 20 initial Linux developers, 15 are still very active.
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KDE e.V., the non-profit organization behind the KDE desktop environment, has put out a press release
about the just-completed Akademy conference. The release is subtitled "Pushing for Elegance and the Mobile Space" and features an overview of the conference that was held in Tampere, Finland June 3-10. "Using KDE software on mobile devices was another big subject of discussion and coding. The KDE community is very interested in providing their software for mobile platforms such as MeeGo. During this Akademy, work continued on making Akonadi (and in extension the Kontact Groupware Suite) and the Plasma user interface library available on MeeGo. Like the KDE community, MeeGo aims to support a full spectrum of devices in terms of formfactor and performance. Kontact Mobile provides the most scalable and powerful groupware client currently available for mobile devices, while the Plasma universal canvas provides the most mature high-level, extensible and brandable toolkit for mobile devices that are using Qt. During Akademy, the first phone call using prototype Plasma mobile phone shell was made.
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