Twidge microblog client

Fine-Tuning Twidge

The .twidgerc file in your home directory consists of several fields, some of which Twidge updates as it runs and some of which can be edited manually; however, some should be left alone to be filled automatically. Most of the fields you should ignore will be in the [default] section at the start of .twidgerc, but consult the Twidge documentation if you are uncertain which are which.

One field that you can edit freely is the savelast field, which sets Twidge to always use the -s or --saveID option, so that only unread messages are displayed when you run a command. It works closely with the lastid field, in which Twidge stores the ID of the last tweet that Twidge read.

You can also set up Twidge's URL-shortening functionality. Unless lsrecent is specifically set to no, the shortenurl field sets Twidge to shorten all URLS with the help of [2]. Alternatively, you can create a section of .twidgerc containing your login name and password for using Bitly [3] as a URL shortener instead.

Another option is to create an [alias] section of the file. This section includes one entry per line, in which the alias is followed by a colon and the full command. The alias section can be used to reduce the length of existing subcommands or to run multiple commands without typing them out in full. For example, instead of beginning a Twidge session with the combined command suggested previously with its options and pipe, you could instead just enter new after adding the following line to .twidgerc:

new: twidge lsrecent -su; twidge lsreplies -su) | less

Goerzen also supplies instructions for having Twidge send an email message when you receive a reply or for sending email as a tweet [4]. However, detailing these functions would require a separate article.

In theory, Twidge also can be set to use with a few edits of the [default] section of .twidgerc – aside, of course, from a few features that lacks. You can maintain the configuration file under a separate name and specify which configuration file to use with either the option -c FILE or --config=File.

If you want to post simultaneously to all microbloggers, you can create a script with an instance of Twidge for both files. Alternatively, you might be able to activate simultaneous posting through a microblogger's web interface.

However, as I write, changes in appear to have made using with Twidge impossible in practice. Updated details of how to enable the use of may be available in the how-tos by the time you read this.

No More Itch

Twidge is exactly what Goerzen set out to make it: a Twitter client that is easy to use, configurable, and uncluttered. However, at least for the time being, Goerzen explains that he is finished with Twidge. "I may be something of an oddball in the free software community," he writes. "I see a point where software is, well, done. Twidge reached that point for me awhile back. It does everything I ever wanted from it, so there is no more itch to scratch, other than occasional updates to keep it compatible."

This, perhaps, is the negative side of being motivated by scratching your own itch. While other developers are showing an interest in Twidge, any additional changes will have to wait for someone who wants more functionality and is able to implement it. Meanwhile, Twidge remains a tool well worth setting up. For now, perhaps, that is enough.

The Author

Bruce Byfield is a computer journalist and a freelance writer and editor specializing in free and open source software. In addition to his writing projects, he is also a fan of parrots, heavy exercise, British folk-rock, science fiction, and 19th-century novels. In his spare time, Bruce writes about Northwest coast art. You can read more of his work at

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