Drivel – A Multi-system Blog Client for Linux
Today I’ll review a neat piece of software called Drivel. Drivel, which to be honest is a bit intentionally demeaning, is a desktop client for Linux to allow users to post their thoughts and feelings (drivel?), to any number of different blogs. Designed for the Gnome Linux desktop environment, I’ve found Drivel to be a simple, easy-to-use client that has a lot of features that I would want in a blog application, plus some I’d never use but other people definitely would.
First of all, is Drivel for you? If you post to an Advogato, Atom (Blogger 2.0), Blogger 1.0, LiveJournal or Movable Type blog, then the answer is ‘yes!’ Drivel supports all those blog types out of the box. In addition, any blog systems based on one of these will work as well, such as WordPress and Drupal, although they may need a bit of tweaking to work correctly.
If you have a couple different blogs, or are sharing your computer with someone who has a blog as well, you can both use Drivel. Just set up both accounts, then when one of you wants to post, log into the correct one. Or, if you’re the only person who’ll be using Drivel, and you only have one blog, you can set it up to remember your password and automatically log in whenever you start up the program.
Once you’ve logged in, Drivel presents you with a completely empty blog window, with the name of your blog at the top. By default, you will be able to write the post, edit the subject line, and determine whether or not the post is public, private, or friends-only. If you click the little triangle at the bottom of the window, you’ll reveal even more options, such as spots where you can input your mood, the music you’re listening to, and more. You can turn off commenting for a particular post, tell Drivel NOT to auto-format your text, and select a different picture. You can also back-date a post.
Like any good 21st century client, Drivel allows for certain html formatting, such as bold, italic, underline, strikethrough, superscript and subscript, and also can create lists. You can indent text to set off a quote, and can also insert a link, picture and (assuming your account permits it), a poll as well.
When you’re ready to post, simply hit the Post button at the bottom of the window, and your post will be sent off and within seconds, your thoughts will be posted for all to see. Or, if you don’t think the world is quite ready for your latest tome on Britney’s underwear, or lack of, or the latest gossip about Hollywood celebrities, athletes in trouble with the law or the big movie busts of the summer, Drivel can simply save your post as a draft until you’re ready to unleash your thoughts on an unsuspecting public.
Drivel does more than just post to your blog, however. Drivel can parse through your previously-posted blog entries and can show you your most recent one, in case you decide to edit it. You can also access and edit your friends, and have access to read your blog history, all from within Drivel!
Of all the blog clients I’ve used, Drivel – while certainly not short of features – is a bit short of eye candy, although that’s not really a huge deal. Other LiveJournal clients I’ve used have been able to identify which music I was listening to. Drivel, unfortunately, does not (although it’s possible that Drivel is not able to “read” either of the music clients I use – Quod Libet and VLC). Again, not a huge deal. I have fingers and can type that information in if I decide I want to.
What Drivel is, however, is a very solid client, able to be used with a large number of blog systems. I don’t post to the LiveJournal I have (I think I did once, in 2005 or so?), but based on the number of “test” posts I’ve done in writing this and a couple other reviews, I have to say Drivel is right at the top of the list of what I would use. If you’re a Linux user and don’t want to use your blog’s web interface, and are looking for a desktop client, give Drivel a try.