Too Many Applications

Too Many Applications

In Image Editors Are The New FTP Application, Josh Pigford writes:

For years, FTP applications have been a genre of software that has overrun itself with options. Generally I believe competition to be a good thing but there really just comes a point where another FTP application in the mix really doesn’t help anybody. As of right now I’ve counted over 100 different FTP applications available to the Mac. Seriously…why?

He goes on to point out that one new image editor – Acorn – entered the market this week and two others (Iris and Pixelmator) are in the works, bringing the number of new image editors to three. The question he raises is at what point does too many applications begin hurting the community rather than building it. It’s a fair question and I think John Gruber’s response hits the answer squarely on the head (although, based on Pigford’s update to his post, he seems more defensive than satisfied with the answer).

For me, I could care less. As long as I can find an application that does what I need it to do, I don’t mind shuffling through a hundred options. Google will most likely point me in the right direction, pruning that list of 100 to something closer to 5 or 10. What I’d like to see discussed is the following statement from Pigford:

I believe competition and choice are a good thing. But at what point does it actually start hurting the community by flooding the market with sub-par applications?

Emphasis added. Which of the aforementioned image editors does he consider sub-par? Iris, which won’t be available until Leopard? Pixelmator, which is still in private beta? Acorn, which was released only this week? Which of these are sub-par and how did Pigford arrive at this conclusion?