This free open source app is meant for people who want to be more productive & are not satisfied with the way their desktop OS launches apps. It is fully extensible via plugins & is cross-platform, giving users the same look & feel regardless of whether it’s used on Windows, Mac or Linux.
Unlike other launcher apps which are only available for a specific OS, like Alfred or Quicksilver for Mac, you can use Zazu practically anywhere. If you can’t find an installer for your particular OS flavor you can compile your own as the source code is available on Github.
According to the Zazu FAQ, the core vision of the app is:
A fully extensible & open source launcher for hackers, creators & dabblers. It comes with sane defaults to make it useful out of the box. But everything can be changed to fit your needs. Don’t let others tell you the best way to be productive, configure it to be perfect for you.
The main advantage of Zazu is that it’s highly customizable, so that if there’s some functionality you need, you can take advantage of an array of already existing plugins, or easily build your own. Among the already available plugins are: a 1password opener for Mac, a function to copy uncommon ASCII characters to the clipboard, a clipboard manager, a basic calculator, a Chrome bookmark searcher, a VPN connection manager…
To get started with Zazu, you just get the latest version from the download page. Once installed you’ll be notified that the packaged plugins have been added (you get 6 basic plugins in the install package, but more can be added if you wish).
By using the alt+space shortcut combo you’ll see a text box where you can type in commands. If you type a common equation, like: 12 feet to inches, you’ll get a numerical result which can be copied to your clipboard. Typing ‘screensaver’, activates the PCs screensaver (of course), or typing lock, locks your computer up.
You can further customize your Zazu configuration from a file located in your home directory by adding or removing plugins, changing the theme or changing the hotkey combination. You can also get instant access to your clipboard history, with support for fuzzy search, including finding apps deep within your file system.
Zazu is the brainchild of Portland, Oregon, USA-based developer Blaine Schmeisser.
- This is a startup profile based on publicly available material & not a review. -
Image Credit: Zazu