Scott's Weblog The weblog of an IT pro specializing in cloud computing, virtualization, and networking, all with an open source view

A Good Launcher

Some time ago, I spoke about Mac OS X virtual desktop managers. Specifically, I was (and still am, to a certain extent) torn between two open source projects, Desktop Manager and Virtue. One of the two key advantages that Desktop Manager held over Virtue was a shortcut key for launching applications—critical for me since the window displaying my Applications folder could be a couple of virtual desktops away at any given moment. Now I’ve found a handy program that addresses that shortcoming.

A couple of days ago I was reading a web log entry by Giles Turnbull about some issues with Quicksilver, and in the comments numerous others were debating the value of Butler vs. Quicksilver vs. LaunchBar. Then, there was a brief mention of a program called Namely.

Namely describes itself as “Spotlight for applications.” Summoned by a quick hotkey (the default is Option-Escape), Namely opens a small search window that starts returning matching application names as you type. In addition, it “learns” your behavior and starts returning applications you use more frequently at the top of the results list.

For me, this perfectly fits the functionality gap between Desktop Manager and Virtue. I initially wrote that I was switching to Virtue (or at least going to give it a try), and then later stated that I was moving back to Desktop Manager (because of a lack of Tiger compatibility with Virtue). What didn’t get written is that I ended up staying with Virtue (even without Tiger compatibility—that’s an issue I’ll take up another day). The more I used Virtue, the more I really liked the feature set and the way the application worked. Now, with Namely, I can enjoy Virtue’s virtual desktop functionality and get the easy-launch functionality I had with Desktop Manager as well. Sweet!

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