Quicksilver and Butler

by Giles Turnbull

This is almost funny, coming just days after I posted my latest raving enthusiasm for it on these very pages; but I’ve just ceased being a Quicksilver user on my primary working computer, and replaced it with Butler.

There’s a reason, mind you.


2007-05-11 16:00:01
i just prefer a more simple app called Namely http://amarsagoo.info/namely/index.shtml, simple, elegant.
2007-05-11 16:09:59
Namely is just an app launcher; Giles said that he wants to open files and folders as well.

In many ways I like Butler better than Quicksilver, but Quicksilver's plugin architecture allows it to work with so many other apps (including web apps) that I keep going back to it.

Erica Sadun
2007-05-11 16:51:17
I much prefer Quickeys as I've mentioned before. CPU-friendly and full macro programming. Plus I've got 20 years invested in some of my macros. I can easily create toolbars as well as macros.
2007-05-11 18:00:57
Still using Launchbar as I started with that one. It meets my needs admirably.
2007-05-11 20:55:46
If you just want a launcher use something else. If you want to rate iTunes on the fly, resize pics with a few keystrokes, jump into terminal from a particular directory then Quicksilver is the way to go. It does have stability issues but when it's not there I'm lost.
2007-05-11 22:42:00
Yes, I really can't use a Mac without LaunchBar or Butler on it. Quicksilver has never cut it for me, too much fumbling and too little results. The shortcuts and keyboard navigation also is cumbersome. But every once in a while when using Butler I find out things like, wow Butler can actually DO this, too?
Jochen Wolters
2007-05-12 01:40:32
Just a quick note for those who decide to stick with Quicksilver, after all (I know I will ;) ):

It also learns from the user, creating abbreviations on the fly. If you type "sys" and then choose "System Preferences" from the list of objects found, Butler will store that shortcut and offer it as the top-most option next time.

Quicksilver has a similar feature, as you can set a search "score" for every item found in a search. Just right-click on an item in the results list, and you can increase or decrease the score for that item. Choosing 'Set as Default for [Search Term]"' from the pop-up menu assigns that item to the search term you entered.

2007-05-12 01:48:19
I've used LaunchBar for years. I did try Quicksilver for a while, but found that it caused erratic behaviour/slow downs/crashes which all disappeared when reverting to Launchbar - i never really used the "advanced" QS features anyway...
2007-05-12 01:58:50
@ Jochen: Yes, I knew that Quicksilver also learns on the fly. I mentioned it here not because I thought QS lacked the feature, but because I didn't expect to see it in Butler too.
2007-05-12 02:00:10
@ jc: Ayjay's right, and you're right too - Namely is very elegant and very simple, but it only opens apps. I need access to everything else, too.
2007-05-12 04:12:45
Yeah, this is why I stopped using QuickSilver. It's awesome, but always intermittantly grabbing massive amounts of system resources. Hmm... why is the entire UI so slow, oh its Quicksilver grabbing 65% of my CPU. It seems like B51 has made this worse, perhaps its coincidence, but it seems QuickSilver became unusable after that due to it being a resource hog. It's pretty and when it works, its amazing, but seriously what good is a launcher that cuts UI responsiveness in half.

Glad to see I am not the only person seeing this.

I wish Blacktree woudl fix it, but it seems the updates have really slowed.

2007-05-12 08:21:35
@ Gazzer: "resize pics with a few keystrokes", with Quicksilver... Oh yes, do I want that! How is this implemented? Anybody?
2007-05-12 08:58:14
Comment Preview
I encountered endless crashes with Quicksilver until I found this tip on a forum and it solved my problems:

1. Open up the Quick Silver preferences.
2. Select Application preferences.
3. Make sure "Enable Advanced Features" is checked.
4. QS may request that you relaunch now. Do so.
5. Open the preferences again and select the "Extras" preferences.
6. The Application Update Type field is probably blank. Ooops.
7. Choose an update preference.
8. That's it.

After I did this, I no longer had weird system behavior from QS.

Hope this helps.

2007-05-12 11:33:49
Weird, I am using/used Quicksilver on 3 Macs, Mac Mini G4, Quad G5 (this one has haxies), PowerBook G4 (Haxies too) and no such memory or any problem here. Remember the horrible ATA (not sata) drive of Mini too.

For just a launcher, a launcher program could be way to go but let me remind , here with all those themes and stuff, no such CPU problem happens.

2007-05-12 11:38:04
Sorry for double post but my bet on Quicksilver using too much CPU is a disk error. Yes, there could be an error on disk/finder info and quicksilver could be the only application hitting that directory/file.

Most practical way to make sure is to run disk check. There could be actual file errors (corruption) but no way to detect them easy I am afraid.

2007-05-13 14:39:10
One word: Launchbar.
2007-05-13 16:21:15
I was inspired to re-try Butler after reading your article - I'm glad I did. I've used Quicksilver for awhile, and my Intel Macs can handle it, but it just wasn't the app for me. From a multi-platform user viewpoint I think it's over-hyped and I only stuck with it for as long as I did because of the high regard it has in the Mac community. As it stands right now, Butler is the "one stop" app for my daily and GTD uses.
2007-05-18 13:19:02
I agree too, i already used quicksilver and butler, but i limited the use of both to launch apps, so i prefer namely in terms of ram usage, but i liked a lot quicksilver and butler too.
2007-05-26 22:02:28
You might try increasing the time between rescans of the catalog to "Every day". I know that doing a lot of disk intensive stuff will slow down a system. Also look for child processes of Quicksilver or a combination of parent and child processes that might indicate that Quicksilver is indexing stuff on your disk when it is slowing things down. If it is, that is probably is your culprit, (indexing stuff on disk is certainly one way to slow down a computer).
2007-09-08 11:38:28
For me QS has been hanging when using iTerm plugin...