The decentralised social network Mastodon is ballooning in popularity right now, with millions of folks flocking in to what the Fediverse has to offer.
But you don’t need to use a web browser or your mobile device to read, follow, and share updates on Mastodon. You can do it from the comfort of the Linux desktop using Tokodon.
Tokodon is a Qt-based Mastodon client for Linux desktops. It sports a clean, straight-forward user interface with all of the core features front-and-center. You’re never more than a click (or a poke) away from navigating your way around.
In this post I give you an overview of what the app can (and can’t) do.
Up Close: Tokodon Mastodon Client
On desktops, Tokodon displays a left-hand sidebar. This has options to view the Home timeline (accounts you follow); notifications (with tabs for ‘all’ and ‘mentions’); view the local timeline (accounts on that instance); and view the global timeline (all federated).
At the bottom of the sidebar is an account switcher, and a button to open the application’s preferences panel (which has an interesting option to show ‘detailed statistics’ underneath “toots”, such as the reboost count, number of replies, and number of favorites, etc).
Notifications comes through in real-time (nice) though I can’t fathom if the home timeline refreshes at a set interval, in real-time, or only manually when hitting refresh. It seems to be the latter, but I’m aware there may be slight delays between instances. YMMV.
Tokodon lets you add multiple Mastodon accounts and the flow for adding them is simple, and easy to follow. Account switching works well but initial sync (after adding an account) often took a minute or two to populate the app.
At narrower-widths the app sidebar slides out of view, and options therein accessed through a hamburger menu. I like the “portrait” style of Tokodon in mobile mode. It’s reminiscent of the official Twitter client for macOS, albeit without an omni-visible toolbar.
Finally (and most importantly for a social networking service) the “Toot” button in the top toolbar takes you to a full-height input field where you can input text. Curiously, there’s no character count (most instances have a 500 character maximum per post).
The toot screen also lets you attach a photo (but you can’t remove it once added, nor add
alt text); create a poll (with a max of 2 options); set post visibility (public, private, unlisted, or direct message); and add a content warning (CW) to your post if it contains content that may upset.
Overall, Tokodon makes using Mastodon on the Linux desktop a breeze. Core functionality for the social networking service is provided for, and well implemented — and with the latest update to Tokodon more features of Mastodon are supported.
Search is supported in Tokodon v23.01. Use the search bar to find accounts, search for posts or accounts containing keyword(s), and explore hashtags from within the app itself (no more being punted to the website, hurrah).
As well as being able to post your own poll in the app you can now see and take part in polls posted by other people. This feature wasn’t implemented in earlier versions of the app so is a great one to see added.
Tokodon now includes a basic conversation view that shows you a list of your last direct conversations. As Mastodon tends to skew more towards conversations this is a pretty useful feature that a lot of people will find a real time-saver.
In the latest version it’s now possible to edit your profile inside the app. You can currently change your display name; edit your bio; change profile photo; set a header image; set a default post type (public, unlisted, followers only, direct); and a few other things.
You cannot delete your own posts after you send them, nor “delete and redraft”. Hopefully that feature isn’t too far behind as —lol— I make a lot of typos and rely on redraft!
You cannot mute or block accounts within Tokodon at the time of writing.
Perhaps the biggest omission: you can’t manage who you follow without viewing someone’s profile to hit the unfollow button there. You also can’t mute accounts, or block accounts directly from the app (but blocks are respected when set elsewhere).
Filters also don’t appear to work. I created a temporary filter (for the word “Tokodon”) in one account and then mentioned the app from another to see how this app handles it. Short answer is: it doesn’t. My post containing the filter word appears, as though no filter is in-place.
You can find Tokodon on Flathub, or probe your distro’s repositories to see if a (potentially older) pre-packaged build is available. Source code is available on the KDE Invent (aka Gitlab) should you fancy building it by hand or getting involved to make it (even) better.
Other than that, go try it out — don’t forget to follow omglinux on Mastodon, your support means the world!