Tuba is a Magnificent New Mastodon App for Linux

Faithful fans of the Fediverse need to check out Tuba, a new Vala/GTK app for Linux that is fine-tuned for social interactions.

Strictly speaking Tuba is a Fediverse client that is compatible with Akkoma, GoToSocial, Pixelfed, and other Fediverse implementations.

Unsure what the Fediverse is? Tuba’s devs describe it as “…a decentralized social network that consists of multiple interconnected platforms and communities, allowing users to communicate and share content across different networks and servers.”

But as Mastodon is by far the best known and most-widely of these (in my orbit at least), and the only one I actively use, in this post I try Tuba as a Mastodon app for Linux — a task for which it’s tremendous.

Let’s take a closer look at what this app can do.

A Top Tier Mastodon Experience

Tuba’s main screen in wide mode

Tuba is a fork of Tootle, a GTK-based Mastodon client for Linux that was popular several years ago. Any similarities end there though as this app is very its own thing.

The first time you run Tuba it asks you to enter your instance URL and then authorize access to your account using a web browser. I think the fact I don’t have to enter my password in the app itself.

Thereout, the experience really shines.

As an adaptive app, Tuba looks great regardless of screen size.

At its widest (how I like to run it on my laptop) it always displays the sidebar, and streams are framed in a carded-style list. Smush Tuba’s window smaller and things compact, retract, and stack neatly — the UI never looks compromised, and all features are easily accessible.

Tuba works great at narrow widths (i.e. Linux phones)

The main screen present three tabs: Home, Notifications, and Conversations. The display the relevant feed. Home is where you see posts from accounts you follow (and posts those you follow boost); Notifications is where engagement sit; Conversations your direct mentions.

You get sidebar access to other streams, such as local and federated timelines; the ability to quickly see posts you hit favorite on, as well as your bookmarks, and any lists you’ve curated (with the option to rename lists, and create brand new lists).

Click on a post in any timeline to see replies

Each post shows on-screen actions to reply, boost, fave, and bookmark, along with visible counts for replies, boosts, and favorites. I particularly like the way Tuba denotes “threaded” posts, and indicates when a reply would mention multiple accounts at the same time.

Click on any attached media to open it in a larger, immersive view. If there’s ALT text specified for the image you’ll be able to preview it here; click the overflow menu for options to open the media in a browser, copy the URL to the post, or save the media to your device.

Top marks for rich media previews

Tuba‘s post editor is a modal meaning it always appears over the view you’re at rather than replacing it.

The editor boasts a live character count, plus support for media attachments. You can mark posts public, unlisted, followers only, or direct mention, and add a content warning directly from the editor. Finally, there’s an in-app emoji picker.

Sending a post

You can click on any account name to visit the respective profile. From the profile page you can access options to follow/unfollow; mute; block; block instance; or filter their posts on your timeline (e.g., hide boosts from the account).

Manage who you follow and what you see

Finally, for those looking to fine-tune their Tuba experience there’s a Preferences dialog that well-stocked with tweaks, including options for dark mode, larger fonts, a toggle to allow the app to run in the background, settings to adjust timeline fetching, and more.

Preferences in Tuba

Tuba features at-a-glance:

  • Browse home, local, and federated timelines
  • Search for posts, accounts, and hashtags
  • Immersive in-app media previews (with ALT text support)
  • Send and edit your own posts (including media with ALT text)
  • Supports multiple accounts + accessible account switcher
  • Option to let app run in the background
  • Follow/unfollow/mute/block accounts

Things I’d love to see: an option to show media in posts full-width; support for editing profile bios and avatars; and receiving desktop notifications when I’m mentioned with the app left running in the background. Also: spell check because, well, I’m me! ????

For a first release, Tuba knocks it out of the park. It delivers a magnificent experience more than on-par with that offered by the best Android and iOS Mastodon apps. Tuba’s adaptive UI is thoughtfully implemented, and the app is stable and intuitive in use.

Interested in trying it out?

• Get Tuba from Flathub

Not into Flatpak? Tuba is available in the AUR, and snap packages are available to download from the application’s website.

Don’t forget to give this blog a follow or a wave over there, you can find us @omglinux — get tooting posting!

h/t scotty_trees

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