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.

Android[edit]

Windows[edit]

These desktop application launchers work with Microsoft Windows operating systems only.

Creator Latest stable version Release date Software license Open source Programming language Plugin support
Appetizer Laurent Cozic 1.4.6.494 February 13, 2010 GPL Yes C++, wxWidgets Yes
ASuite SalvadorSoftware 2.0 April 20, 2020 GPL Yes Delphi No
Classic Shell Ivo Beltchev 4.3.1 August 12, 2017 MIT Yes C++ Yes (via shell namespace extensions inside the menu)
LiberKey Captel SARL 5.8.1129 November 30, 2015 Proprietary No ? No
PortableApps.com Platform Rare Ideas, LLC 15.0.2 May 17, 2018 GPL Yes[note 1] Delphi No
Quick Access Popup Jean Lalonde 11.5.0.1 September 26, 2021 Freeware Yes AutoHotkey No
SliderDock Dimitri Roozendaal 1.21 October 11, 2010 Creative Commons No ? No
SyMenu Gianluca Negrelli 7.00.8038 [1] January 3, 2022 Freeware No C# Yes
XIA Links CENTREL Solutions 4.2.12 [2] July 1, 2021 Proprietary No C# No
  1. ^ PortableApps.com branding is trademarked

Linux[edit]

These desktop application launchers work with Linux operating systems only.

Creator Latest stable version Release date OS Software license Open source Programming language Plugin support
9menu Arnold Robbins 1.8 June 1, 2004 Linux GPL Yes C No
Avant Window Navigator Neil J. Patel 0.4.2 [3] November 27, 2013 Linux GPL Yes C Yes
dmenu dwm developers 4.5[4] December 19, 2011 Linux MIT License Yes C No
GNOME Do GNOME Do Developers 0.95.1[5] January 23, 2014 Linux GPL Yes C# Yes
Katapult TDE Developers R14.0.6[6] March 5, 2019 Linux with TDE GPL Yes C++ Yes
Unity Dash Canonical Ltd. 7.3.0[7] June 19, 2014 Ubuntu GPLv3 Yes Vala Yes ("lenses" and "scopes")
Synapse Michal Hruby and Alberto Aldegheri 0.2.99.4[8] April 8, 2018 Linux GPLv3 Yes Vala Yes

macOS[edit]

These desktop application launchers work with the Apple macOS operating system only.

Creator Latest stable version Release date Software license Open source Programming language Plugin support Runs on macOS Catalina
Alfred Running with Crayons 4.5.1 August 9, 2021 Proprietary No Objective-C Yes Yes
Butler Peter Maurer 4.3.2 April 9, 2019 Proprietary No Objective-C Yes Yes
DragThing James Thomson 5.9.11 November 16, 2016 Proprietary No C++ Yes No
LaunchBar Objective Development 6.10 April 24, 2019 Proprietary No Objective-C Yes Yes
Quicksilver Quicksilver Foundation 2.0.0 March 25, 2022 Apache License Yes Objective-C Yes Yes
Raycast Raycast 1.26.0 November 30, 2021 Proprietary No (unknown) Yes Yes

Cross platform[edit]

These desktop application launchers work with two or more different operating systems.

Creator Latest stable version Release date OS Software license Open source Programming language Plugin support Runs on macOS Catalina
Launchy Josh Karlin 2.5.0 April 4, 2010 Microsoft Windows, Linux, macOS GPL Yes C++ (Qt) Yes No

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "SyMenu - What's New: 7.00.8038 [2022.01.03]". www.ugmfree.it. Retrieved 5 January 2022.
  2. ^ "XIA Links: Windows Desktop Icon & Shortcut Manager". www.centrel-solutions.com. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  3. ^ "Awn in Launchpad". Launchpad. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  4. ^ "suckless.org software that sucks less". suckless.org. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  5. ^ Rogers, Chris. "Do 0.95.1 released". Launchpad. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  6. ^ "Katapult - Katapult – a general purpose launcher".
  7. ^ "Unity". Launchpad. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  8. ^ "synapse-project - [no description]". Git.launchpad.net. Retrieved 4 January 2019.

External links[edit]