I’ve longed for the day when I could do away with my “Programs Menu” altogether. I had been searching for something to do this kind of thing for a while when I came across Quicksilver for Macintosh. Those Macintosh people sicken me. How dare they have something so cool?
If you’re a software whore like me that has a Start Menu that fills an entire 19″ monitor or hate the nested menus that are so common in Linux Distributions, then you will fall in love with Launchy and Katapult.
What do they do? Allow fast access to your applications, bookmarks and other items by using a key combination (Ctrl+Space by default) to launch a transparent popup in the middle of the screen. They index your standard programs menu, which allows you to begin typing the application you want.
For example, if I want to Launch “OpenOffice Writer” and I have “OpenGL” as a menu item, I type the following:
[Ctrl]+[Space], op[spacebar]wr[enter] and my application launches; quick, easy and painless.
While neither are perfect (both are still young projects), they are both free and open source and are now based on a plugin architecture to allow you to index more things. Katapult has a very cool built in calculator, so I can type:
[Ctrl]+[Space], 45*12 and I will automatically see the result. It’s a very handy addition and I find myself using it often.
Both use Ctrl+Space to popup the desktop screen widget by Default. This can cause a conflict when I am using Rdesktop from Linux -> Windows or NoMachine’s NX from Windows to Linux, so I change the Launchy default to use Alt+Space instead and leave Katapult as the default.
I have never used Quicksilver, so I can’t give any real comparison to it. I am certain any Macintosh Geek will tell me it does 100 other cool things that we will never have but then I didn’t pay $3000 for my Dual Core PC, did I ;)
Both Launchy and Katapult are one of those “can’t live without” applications. Check them out.