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Summary:

Long ago, this post joked about the announcement by Apple to move to Intel chips. (It also spawned an unending quest for the origin of the title: Wait for it, Wait for it…but that’s a different story I suppose.) I bring this up because after reading […]

Long ago, this post joked about the announcement by Apple to move to Intel chips. (It also spawned an unending quest for the origin of the title: Wait for it, Wait for it…but that’s a different story I suppose.) I bring this up because after reading Lifehacker’s exclusive interview with Alcor (Nicholas Jitkoff) – the Quicksilver developer – You could replace the punch line of the aforementioned joke with: “Alcor condemned Quicksilver to a ‘long slow death’, suggested 3rd party alternatives…” and pretty much understand the way that news made me feel yesterday.

What makes this hurt the most, is that Quicksilver is literally what I show people on my Mac first. Yes, Apple’s computers and operating system are clearly examples of special attention to engineering and development, but Quicksilver is really in a league of its own when it comes to making a computer system unlike anything else. The thought of this application dying a slow death is nearly unbearable for me. In fact, my first reaction was that this is the final straw, and it’s time for me to become an OS X programmer so I can pickup the Open Source Code and revive the application that I rely on almost every minute of the day (or at least the minutes I’m working on my computer that is). In fact I’ve been planning to start a project to learn Xcode/Cocoa/Objective C and blog about it here on TAB. It will likely still happen, but when my schedule and life get a bit less crazy… In the meantime however, I’m hopeful that someone or a group of someones out there have the chutzpah and the love for Quicksilver to do the same.

So mark this as my cry for help, directed toward the incredible community of talented developers supporting the Mac platform: Quicksilver needs you! Those of us who are addicted to Quicksilver need you! I have a hard time believing such a wonderful application could truly die away, but I would feel so much better knowing there are some ambitious folks out there ready to pick up the slack. Alcor is leaving some big shoes to fill - is anyone out there up to the task???

EDIT: A point I neglected to write about initially is the cost (or lack thereof) of Quicksilver (thanks for the reminder Weisheng).

Alcor has been kind beyond belief to craft Quicksilver free of charge all these years. The silly part is it is one of the few applications I would pay for without even thinking about it. I have many apps that I use just enough to merit the purchase of a license. Quicksilver is one program that I swear by – heck, even LIVE by – and wouldn’t hesitate to fork over my hard-earned dollars for.

A commenter in the original Lifehacker thread mentions the Radiohead model of letting people pay what they think the album is worth to them. I can’t think of a better application of this payment model, as Quicksilver is one of those apps that differs in brilliance for every user. I’d pay $30 easily, from my perspective…

  1. The shame is it sounds like he’s lost interest in it. I’d love to see someone pick it up and keep moving with it, but I’m afraid something will be lost in the transition.

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  2. I thought the same thing when I read about Quicksilvers slow death. At the college I attend there are more and more people getting new Macs every year. The first application that I have them install is Quicksilver. I sure hope that this must have for the Mac doesn’t go way any time soon.

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  3. I agree, Quicksilver is seriously the app I couldn’t live without. I use it instinctively, so much that in those rare occasions where I have to restart Quicksilver, I quit the program and my brain tries to restart it with *Cmd* *space* QS.

    Like you, I’m not a programmer. I don’t really have any strong need to see QS extended upon, but we all need it to at least remain stable with new versions of the OS!

    I hope someone picks it up!

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  4. I’d actually pay for the app if it was taken over by a third party developer, it’s also the one app I demonstrate to friends when I first introduce the Mac to them. I’m sure there’ll be those who will moan if it’s no longer free, but I wouldn’t mind paying for a stable release with the plugins updated and new features added.

    Of course, the preferable alternative would be for users who are also developers to contribute to the effort but I can’t see how that’s a long-term solution. They’ll eventually get tired of supporting the app for nothing in return, just as Alcor seems to be.

    The ideal solution would be for his current employer Google or Apple to take over the project. It would be great if Apple would integrate it directly into the OS, just as they did with Cover Flow. Unfortunately, seeing as how it competes with Spotlight I can’t see how Apple would get both to complement each other. The future looks bleak.

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  5. I’ve always been somewhat interested in learning to code and develop but never started because of school and personal life commitment, now that I actually feel the urge to start learning just so I could start contributing to sustaining “quicksilver.”

    And yeah, I share the same sentiment, I now actually use quicksilver like the old chinese proverb “act without doing”

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  6. @Carl –
    Thanks for the link! I’ve gotten some great tidbits out of VV in the past, but have never followed it regularly. Looks like it’s time to do so!!

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  7. @Carl: was just planning to post that link myself ;)
    Hopefully he’ll come out with a stable release.

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  8. I do have to wonder how many people actually need *QuickSilver* who wouldn’t be happy with the alternative he suggested, LaunchBar.

    I know it isn’t for everyone, and it certainly doesn’t have QS’s overall capability, but it (to me) feels much faster, and on the whole feels more polished. Again, that’s subjective, but if you haven’t tried LaunchBar, now might be the time.

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  9. Yea, Ankur has already started working on it which is great news!
    It’s also encouraging to hear that he’s found a lot of mess in the code & he’s sorting it out. Hopefully he & others can make it more stable. Really looking forward to it in the future.

    And I agree, this is one app I’d definitely be willing to pay for.

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