I’ve searched high and low for a good native Linux Twitter client, but there’s nothing out there that can really compete with TweetDeck. At least not in terms of functionality. TweetDeck is based on Adobe’s AIR platform and as a result is quite heavy on resources. But the biggest problem I had with it was getting it to open links in my default browser. It disregarded my setting and used Firefox to open all links. Twitter is far less fun if you need to carefully copy paste every link to a new tab in your browser. As it turns out, the issue is with AIR, not just TweetDeck, and it took quite a while and a lot of help for me to find a working solution.
If I understand correctly, AIR uses and old (deprecated) so-called ‘environment variable’ to determine of Gnome is the active windows manager. Gnome is default for Ubuntu, but because AIR asks it the wrong question, it’s never asked what the default browser is. The solution to this is to set the deprecated variable manually, before you launch TweetDeck or any other AIR Application.
The first line sets the GNOME_DESKTOP_SESSION_ID variable to ‘Default’, so it’s ready to be checked by AIR. The second line launches TweetDeck. I’ve saved this to my desktop, given it permission to be executed (right-click -> permissions) and use it instead of the regular TweetDeck icon. This workaround works wonderfully for me and links now open in Chromium rather than Firefox.
Work in progress
There are probably more elegant solutions that set the variable without having to manually fire off a script every time. I’ve tried adding it to files like .bash_profile, .xsession and .profile, but that got me nowhere. If you have a solution that works in Ubuntu 9.04, please leave it in the comments. And let’s hope Adobe fixes this in future releases of their software. That would of course be the preferred solution.