Topic: Cross platform woes

Hey guys

This post is not particularly directed at cog, but more of a general discussion.

Do you prefer cross platform apps?

In my search for the perfect (mostly open source) setup of my mac I have come across maybe hundreds of apps. Some proud themselves of being 'cross platform'. My initiate reaction is : that's nice. Larger userbase, better support forums etc.

On the other hand OS X native sounds pretty nifty too. The devs don't have to cut corners on the code, to make sure it fits everywhere. One UI means more time spent on just that one.

And that is why I post this.

I was looking for a rss-reader app, and stumbled on Vienna and RSSOwl. Both open source.

RSSOwl seems to be more customizable with plugins and whatnots. But it looks and feels like a windows program turned into a mac app.

Vienna is pretty. Every feature seem familiar and intuitive. But it has fewer features.

What do you prefer?

Some other programs.

Azureus: I don't like the interface, but I like the features.
Transmission: Pretty, intuitive, very large UI (EDIT: darn, vspader is right (look below))

Firefox... I gues they have the manpower to handle more than one user interface, but even they handle  some features differently than best practice on mac

VideoLan, looks and feels windowsy (or maybe linuxy)
Quicktime... Ahh come on.

Audacity again windowslike, but no free alternative

That is what I could think of. I guess there are pros and cons to everything, but at Audacity, Azures and videolan are pretty large projects, I think they could benefit from investing more in the UI on mac.

Subject is open for debate

Last edited by Zitz (2008-03-09 10:24:08)

Re: Cross platform woes

interesting thoughts.

i'm a big fan of firefox, but i use custom builds by some guy that are tweaked to fit the aqua look, as well as optimized for my processor. i'm still using firefox 2, but i gather that version 3 has a new native interface which is great news - i'll have to check it out soon, tho seeing as i've waited this long, maybe i'll wait for the release version?

other than that... yeah now i think about it i generally seem to go for native apps when they're an acceptable option. i don't use azureus, not specifically because it's cross-platform but because it's java, and a resource hog, so i don't see myself using it in future even if they make the interface look better. transmission is a nice native app, and has recently gained a lot of the important features it was previously missing, but it's still not as fully-featured as azureus or utorrent. i'm still holding out hope for a port of utorrent one of these days...... neutral

i use vlc for stuff that other apps won't play, it's a very useful and impressive app, but it's ugly and i'd usually rather be using front row (quick tangent - can leopard users tell me if front row no longer opens itunes in the background to play videos? cheers). i agree that vlc could benefit from more work on the ui for the mac version.

yeah audacity isn't too nice on the mac, and as you say there's no free alternative, which is a huge shame. i've generally settled on using sound studio (quite cheap shareware) for most editing, but i have sound forge (bloody expensive commercial app) installed in vmware in case i ever feel the need for a major editing session - i wouldn't want to have vmware running while i was using a daw tho.

hm what else? for msn messenger, i switched from mercury, which has the option of a mac-looking gui, but still actually runs as clunky java, to adium, which is a nicely-running native mac app that uses the cross-platform open source libpurple library (oh and adium is also open source). i've never felt inclined to try the official msn client for os x, i've heard it's pretty terrible - tho the forthcoming new version might be an improvement. for irc i use x-chat aqua, which as the name suggests is a nice native aqua build of the cross-platform x-chat client.

so yeah cross-platform apps are great if they end up running as nicely as a mac app should, but otherwise i'll look for alternatives.

edit: oh and i didn't mention rss apps because i don't really use rss except for tv show torrents.

Last edited by hippy dave (2008-03-09 10:07:58)

Re: Cross platform woes

Quick note: I don't believe Transmission is OS X only. I'm pretty sure there's a linux version.

Re: Cross platform woes

true, good point. it has a proper native os x interface tho, unlike some of the other cross-platform apps mentioned.