Comparison of desktop application launchers

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An application launcher is a computer program that helps a user to locate and start other computer programs. An application launcher provides shortcuts to computer programs, and stores the shortcuts in one place so they are easier to find.

In the comparison of desktop application launchers that follows, each section is devoted to a different desktop environment.

Windows[edit]

Creator Latest stable version Release date OS Free according to the FSF Software license Open source Programming language Plugin Support
Appetizer Laurent Cozic 1.4 February 13, 2010;
4 years ago
 (2010-02-13)
Microsoft Windows Yes GPL Yes C++, wxWidgets Yes
ASuite SalvadorSoftware 1.5.1.2 24 May 2008 (2008-05-24) Microsoft Windows Yes GPL Yes Delphi No
Classic Shell Ivo Beltchev 4.0.4 18 January 2014 (2014-01-18) Microsoft Windows Yes MIT License (except for skins, logo, artwork etc. which is copyrighted) [1] Yes C++ Yes (via shell namespace extensions inside the menu)
JetToolBar JetAudio, Inc. 3.8.1 4 May 2004 (2004-05-04) Microsoft Windows No Proprietary No ? No
Launchy Josh Karlin 2.5.0 4 April 2010 (2010-04-04) Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS X Yes GPL Yes C++ (Qt) Yes
LiberKey Captel SARL 5.7.0516 18 May 2012 (2012-05-18) Microsoft Windows No Proprietary No ? No
PortableApps.com Platform Rare Ideas, LLC 11.2 4 October 2012 (2012-10-04) Microsoft Windows Yes GPL Yes[note 1] Delphi No
SliderDock Dimitri ROOZENDAAL 1.21 11 October 2010 (2010-10-11) Microsoft Windows No Creative Commons No ? No
SyMenu Gianluca Negrelli 3.01 9 June 2014 (2014-06-09) Microsoft Windows No Freeware No C# Yes
  1. ^ PortableApps.com branding is trademarked

Linux[edit]

Creator Latest stable version Latest release date OS Free according to the FSF Software license Open source Programming language Plugin Support
9menu Arnold Robbins 1.8 June 1, 2004 (2004-06-01) Linux Yes GPL Yes C No
Avant Window Navigator Neil J. Patel 0.4 April 11, 2010 (2010-04-11) Linux Yes GPL Yes C Yes
Cardapio Cardapio Team[2] 0.9 ? Linux Yes GPLv3 Yes ? Yes, including Zeitgeist, Google, Wikipedia, VirtualBox and others[3]
dmenu dwm developers 4.4.1 December 19, 2011; 2 years ago (2011-12-19) Linux Yes MIT License Yes C No
GNOME Do GNOME Do Developers 0.8.3.1 March 4, 2012; 2 years ago (2012-03-04) Linux Yes GPL Yes C Sharp Yes
Katapult Katapult Developers 0.3.2.1 July 23, 2008 (2008-07-23) Linux with KDE Yes GPL Yes C++ Yes
Kupfer Ulrik Sverdrup[4] v206[5] June 1, 2012 (2012-06-01) - v208 (latest)[6] Linux Yes GPL v3+ Yes Python Yes
Launchy Josh Karlin 2.5.0 April 4, 2010 (2010-04-04) Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS X Yes GPL Yes C++ (Qt) Yes
Synapse Synapse core-team 0.2.10 March 18, 2012 (2012-03-18)[7] (development unlikely to resume)[8] Linux Yes GPL Yes Vala Yes
jPort S.Chekanov and jWork.ORG 1.2.0 4 May 2013 (2013-05-04) Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS X No Proprietary No Java No
Unity Dash Canonical Ltd. 6.08[9] October 18, 2012 (2012-10-18) Ubuntu Yes GPLv3 Yes Vala Yes ("lenses" and "scopes")
wbar warlock.cc [1] 2.3.4 September 28, 2012 (2012-09-28) Linux Yes GPL Yes C No

Mac OS X[edit]

Creator Latest stable version OS Free according to the FSF Software license Open source Programming language Plugin Support
Alfred Running with Crayons 2.0.3 Mac OS X No Proprietary No Objective-C Yes
Butler Peter Maurer 4.1.6 Mac OS X No Proprietary No Objective-C Yes
DragThing James Thomson 5.9.11 Mac OS X No Proprietary No C++ Yes
LaunchBar Objective Development 5.6.2 Mac OS X No Proprietary No Objective-C ?
Launchy Josh Karlin 2.5.0 Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS X Yes GPL Yes C++ (Qt) Yes
jPort S.Chekanov and jWork.ORG 1.2 Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS X No Proprietary No Java Yes
Quicksilver Blacktree Software 1.1.0 Mac OS X Yes Apache License Yes Objective-C Yes

Cross platform (Java enabled)[edit]

Creator Latest stable version Release date OS Free according to the FSF Software license Open source Programming language Plugin Support
jPort S.Chekanov and jWork.ORG 1.2.0 4 May 2013 (2013-05-04) Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS X No Proprietary No Java No

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]