Get the Most out of Social Media On Your Ubuntu

[ Monday, 24 March 2008, bianconeri4ever ]

This is a guest blog by Rami Taibah from Royal HeHe2-ness, Rami is a Linux aficionado and a social media addict from Saudi Arabia.

Sometimes I get the feeling that Web 2.0 is just too fancy for Linux, loads of tools, websites, and apps are being developed without taking Linux users into consideration. Despite the fact that the number of people using Linux is comparable to the people using Mac OSX if not more. Mac has the “fancy” factor playing for it. But we got the “hacking and modding” factor playing for us ;) ! Here I will take you through some of the best tools and apps out there and how to get them up and running on your Ubuntu (assume 7.10). So here we go:


I know your probably thinking what’s there in digg that I can “get the most out of”? After all I only need a browser right? Well not entirely, there is a nifty dgg tool out there that most top diggers use. Digg Alerter is a tool that tracks all your submission and tells when I particular story gets dugg and when it get popular. It’s very useful tool that you should consider if you want to get anywhere on digg. It even got featured on The Drill Down podcast, a podcast by the top 3 diggers, MrBabyMan, MSaleem, and Zaibatsu. Digg Alerter was developed by a programmer called Adam Lyttle, unfortunately Digg Alerter is a Windows program built in Visual Basic. My attempts to get it working in wine failed, however I successfully figured a workaround using seamless virtualization. A mix of Vmware, rdesktop, and a program called seamlessRDP.

First of all you will need to install a virtual XP machine on your Ubuntu, how one could achieve that is beyond the scope of this text, but there are plenty of guides out there for that. Once you done that, log in to your XP machine and download seamlessRDP and extract it to C:/seamless. While your at it, find out the IP of your XP machine by invoking ipconfig in a DOS terminal. You might also want to give that machine a static IP so you don’t have to change the IP command I will tell you about shortly. Next, create a new XP administrator user and name it whatever, let’s say we called it “linux”. Finally we have to configure XP to load without a Desktop, just a taskbar, so launch your registry editor (regedit in run) and navigate to: HKEY_CURRENT_USER -> Software -> Microsoft -> Windows -> CurrentVersion -> Policies -> Explorer. Once there create a new DWORD entry and call it “NoDesktop” and then change it’s value to 1. Now log out of that user and go back to your Ubuntu, and right click on your desktop and choose “create launcher”. In type, keep it as is (application), for name name it whatever you please (I named it Windows-VM), and in command type in “rdesktop -A -s ‘c:\seamless\seamlessrdpshell.exe c:\windows\explorer.exe’ -u linux -p 123123″. Of course you will need to change the IP to your IP and the password (123123) to whatever password you chose. Thats it! Double click on the launcher and you will shortly get a the Windows taskbar on the bottom.

Now all you need to do is open up Internet Explorer and download Digg Alerter and install it! Of course you might want to move your default Ubuntu taskbar to the top or one of the sides to give way for the XP taskbar. Also, enable autohide on the XP taskbar to get it out of the way and only use it when you really want it.

PS: If anybody figures out how to get Digg Alerter to work on wine, please stand up! :)


StumbleUpon also has a program called StumbleUpon Alerter, it’s similar to Digg Alerter brought to you by the same developer. It tracks your stories and who thumbed it up or down. It’s also a great tool that could be installed using the same seamless virtualization method I explained with Digg Alerter.


Twitter is social media’s newest darling. It’s appeal isn’t really apparent at first glance (I admit, I didn’t like it at first, now I am hooked), but hordes of bloggers and social media addicts are embracing it. The appeal of it is beyond the scope of this article, but trust me give it a chance, you will love it!

Unfortunately there aren’t much good options for Linux users with Twitter, the best two clients I have come across where twhirl and snitter and both are Adobe Air clients that I have not been able to run on wine. You can however run both apps using the seamless virutalization method I detailed earlier. However there are other Linux native clients:


If you are like most Linux users, chances are you are using Firefox, and Twitterfox plugin does the job quite nicely. However there are some drawbacks that kind of pisses me off. For starters it still does not work on Firefox 3 beta, but that issue will probably be fixed as soon as Firefox 3 becomes official. Also, it does not allow you to copy from Twitter stream, which is beyond me. Posting long links could be problematic if it exceeds the 140 character cap (maybe thats just me not sure).


Actually not that great, but it works. It’s a bit clunky and non-intuitive. I really don’t understand why I can’t click on a twit and directly reply, instead I have to navigate to the menu and click on new message and add “@username” to reply. Anyways if you want to try it out you can download it from the getdeb website.


Is a simple GTK+ based application, that I found on Google code. gTwitter is still under heavy development so maybe it’s not for you, I just decided to throw it in the mix :) .

You will need to compile this one from source, but before you do so you will need two packages; libsexy-dev and mono-mcs. Get them using apt-get install.

sudo apt-get install libsexy-dev
sudo apt-get install mono-mcs

Then extract the gtwitter archive and from within the directory

sudo make install

That’s it, you can run it by invoking gtwitter from the terminal.


Pownce is a micro-blogging social network that takes Twitter to the next step, adding the ability to share files, videos, and pictures as opposed to Twitter’s text and links only scheme. One cool thing about Pownce is that it doesn’t have a character limit, and replies are threaded unlike the chaos one can see at Twitter.

Pownce offers a great desktop tool that elevates the whole “powncing” experience and makes it much more pleasurable. It has been gathering a lot of momentum since it’s official launch earlier this year. Sadly, the tool is based on Adobe Air, which spells trouble for us Linux geeks. But fear not, Linux has taught me that there is always a way, and I found a way for this app! W00T!

We are going to use wine, so you will need to get the latest version (0.9.57 at the time of writing). And no the one in the Ubuntu repo is not it :) ! You will need to add the original wine repos, first get the keys:

wget -q -O- |
sudo apt-key add -

For Gutsy, add the following repo:

sudo wget -O

If you or on another version of Ubuntu check out the list of repos on the wine documentation, while other distros might have different instructions.

Now that wine is out of the way, we are ready to install Adobe Air. However, the brilliant guys at Adobe decided not to give us the freedom to choose which OS version we need. Instead it has an automatic detector, and if your on Ubuntu you get nothing. So we trick it using a combination of wine and Opera Web browser. So get the latest version of Opera for Windows, and install it using wine.

sudo wine Opera_9.26_International_Setup.exe

Go through the installation process (yes next next next so monotonous eh? :P ) You should get Opera in your Applications menu under “wine”. So navigate Opera to the Adobe Air download page and download the “Windows Beta3 installer for Adobe Air” don’t get version 1.0 that won’t work. Then run it also using wine:

wine air_b3_win_121207.exe

This will launch the Adobe Air installer, go through it until your done installing. Now you need to get the Pownce Desktop App, and save it wherever you wish. Next, from terminal you will need to navigate to /home/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/Common Files/Adobe AIR/Versions/. From within that directory run the following:

wine Adobe\ AIR\ Application\ Installer.exe

A dialog box will pop up, navigate where you saved your Pownce applet and run the installer. In a few you will have Pownce installed!

Before you pounce (pun intended) there is one minor edit you still need to do:

nano /home/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/Pownce/META-INF/AIR/application.xml

And change the “true” in

true to “false” Thats it!

web 2.0 in linux
Linux desktop filled with Web 2.0 apps


Devious Egg has come up with a different way to get a Pownce client, it basically depends on the prism tool from Mozilla. Check it out, if the wine version of Pownce I mentioned above does not suit your needs.

About the Author

Rami Taibah

While not a Linux whiz, I am ever so passionate about it and Open Source in general. I converted to Linux around 3 years ago, and never looked back. I currently blog and advocate open source over at h (more...)

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