Blog with Ubuntu

Blog with Ubuntu

Blogging is all the rage, and you can update your blog from Ubuntu using the Drivel blog client.

Blogging has become a very popular activity as of late; there's even been an O'Reilly book about it (Essential Blogging by Cory Doctorow et al.). Lots of people have LiveJournals or maintain their own blog servers. Most blogs have their own web-based administrative interfaces, but if you're not online, you can't update your blog. That's where a blog client comes in: it allows you to write blog posts offline and upload them when you're ready. There is a very good blog client called Drivel in the universe repository, which is very easy to configure and use.

Installing Drivel

Thanks to apt-get, Drivel is extremely easy to install (you need to have the universe repository enabled [Hack #60]). Simply run the following command from a terminal window:

[email protected]:~$ sudo apt-get install drivel
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree... Done
The following NEW packages will be installed
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 34 not upgraded.
Need to get 353kB of archives.
After unpacking 1487kB of additional disk space will be used.
Get: 1 dapper/universe drivel 2.0.2-5 [353kB]
Fetched 353kB in 1s (191kB/s)
Selecting previously deselected package drivel.
(Reading database ... 105636 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking drivel (from .../drivel_2.0.2-5_i386.deb) ...
Setting up drivel (2.0.2-5) ...

There will be a new menu entry for Drivel created in the Applications menu in the Internet section. Simply click on that entry to start Drivel.

Configuring and Using Drivel

Upon starting Drivel for the first time, you'll be presented with the main Drivel dialog box, which is where you'll need to configure the program. Enter your username, password, and server address into the appropriate fields in the dialog, and select your journal type from the drop-down menu. (If you're using a Movable Type or Movable Type-compatible blog such as Wordpress, make sure to put the path to your mt-xmlrpc.cgi file in the Server Address field.) Click on Log In (see Figure), and Drivel will hook up to your blog and pull down an index of your latest blog posts.

Drivel's splash and login screen

Now Drivel's ready for you to make your first post (see Figure)! Fill in a subject line for your post, and type some content in the big body field. When you click Post, Drivel will upload the post to your blog, where it'll be made available to the whole world. The "Show more options" arrow will bring down a pull-down dialog where you can select which category you want your post to be categorized in, if your blog supports categories.

Drivel's main window

Drivel also supports different fonts and font effects via the Format menu. It will also automatically construct image links for you, although you'll have to upload the image (in the correct size) to your blog outside of Drivel. Drivel also makes it easy to call up old blog entries and edit them if necessary; simply click on the Journal menu and select Recent Entries to see the last few entries you've written.

In all, Drivel's one of those small applications that does one thing, and does it well. Give it a test-drive and see if it can't help you manage your blog.

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