Hello, Buzzbird.


In my previous article I was mourning the loss of Twitterrific as Twitter client for Mac OS X 10.4. Due to Twitter’s shift to the OAuth authentication system, the guys at the Iconfactory confirmed that they had to drop Mac OS X 10.4 support for Twitterrific (they replied to me on Twitter: Twitter’s Oauth libraries require 10.5 or later to function unfortunately. You’ll need to update the OS or use the web).

So I wrote:

OAuth is a new authentication protocol Twitter has officially launched yesterday. It is better and more secure (read more about it in this post on the official Twitter blog), but that also means that now there aren’t any more Twitter third-party clients for Mac OS X 10.4 users. Well, as a matter of fact there is still one, TTYtter, written by the excellent Cameron Kaiser (yes, the same developer behind Classilla). But although I greatly appreciate Kaiser’s efforts, I would like a GUI-based Twitter client for Mac OS X 10.4, and TTYtter is text-based.

When I caught up with my Twitter stream this morning, I found some good news, brought by the same Cameron Kaiser: Aha! there is still a GUI Twitter client for 10.4 with OAuth — Buzzbird!

As you can read on Buzzbird’s Learn More page, Buzzbird is an open source, free Twitter client for Mac OS X, Windows and Linux, and is built on Mozilla’s XUL platform, the same technology that is used in the Firefox Web Browser, Thunderbird E-mail client, and Songbird Media Player, which means Buzzbird can be multi-platform and still run natively. Also, here are its main features:

  • Multiple Account Support
  • Selective filter views (can choose Timeline, @mentions, direct mentions)
  • Retweet, Reply, Unfollow, and Favorite button on each Tweet
  • Built-in URL Shortening (currently via is.gd)
  • Menu to insert emoji in tweets
  • Read/Unread count in status bar
  • Click on a users avatar to see more information about them, or to follow/unfollow them.

When you go to the Download page and you hover your mouse over the button to download the Mac OS X version, a tooltip appears: Download for Mac OS X 10.5, 10.6. Don’t let this warning discourage you: I downloaded it anyway and appears to work just fine under Mac OS X 10.4.

Buzzbird has a decent interface and does its job. If the default tweet font size is too small to read for you, you can increase it by selecting Tools > Increase Zoom. I would like a bit more customisation, but really I can’t complain, since probably this is the last GUI Twitter client working under Mac OS X 10.4. Looking around in the preferences, I particularly appreciated its filtering capabilities:

Buzzbird filters.png

I still think that Twitterrific gave me a superior experience, and that my WebDesktop + Hahlo solution has more legibility, but Buzzbird works fine and is a proper GUI-based Twitter client. It’s a great solution for those still using Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. (Thanks, Cameron, for the tip.)

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