Ratings of popular reference management GUIs

‘Software is like sex: it’s better when it’s free’ – Linus Torvalds


macupdate (mu) versiontracker (vt) softpedia (sp) mean (mu, vt)
BibDesk 4.5 4.6 ni 4.55
Bookends * 4 4.8 3.1 4.4
EndNote * 2 2.2 ni (Mac version
not listed)
Papers * 4.5 3.4 ni 3.95
Sente * 4.5 4.4 ni 4.45
iPapers2/iPapers ni
Cloister ni ni 3.1
Yep 4 4.2 3.6 4.1

Dashes mean not yet rated; “ni” means not listed on site. Average ratings across mu and vt were 4.55, 4.4, 2.1, 3.95 and 4.45 for BibDesk, Bookends, EndNote, Papers and Sente respectively. Meanwhile, PDF manager Yep is quite popular. Data is from sometime this week.


iusethis mu d’l’s mu d’l’ current version sp users download.com (dl) dl last week
BibDesk 565 23550 942 ni 253 0
Bookends * 97 43753 1005 28 814 6
EndNote * 78 18931 686 ni 26375 240
Papers * 327 10747 718 ni 253 0
Sente * 42 15304 56 ni 677 0
iPapers2/iPapers 10 2572 1,795 0 ni ni
Cloister 2 ni ni 10 ni ni
Yep 870 68267 2467 47 42 1

For iPapers2/iPapers, the iusethis users of iPapers and iPapers2 were combined.

Revival of patronage

It’s now clear to me that with our capacity to distribute large works of art, such as books, music, and films, to global audiences of millions, and many computer programmers’ opposition to paying for digital goods (resulting in quick breaking of any digital rights management system yet deployed), that we will have a re-emergence of patrons who will support artists for recording albums, writing books, and making films. It is also possible that these patrons will be corporate bodies rather than individual persons, especially in the early days of this cultural trend. Once audiences have become fully accustomed to TV and online ads, such sponsorship will be the best way to reach audiences disenfranchised from traditional media, whose advertising already communicates little about the product and services portrayed, and instead tries to appeal to emotions, which can be seen as deceptive. Additionally, it is clear that many corporations are wealthy enough to pay for high quality works of art and may prefer this opportunity to not be limited to the typical duration of a TV ad. Agencies that put corporations in touch with promising artists stand to make good margins, and will be a desirable employer. Most of the actual trade will be carried out online. As an example of this trend, I would cite the TED conference.

Addendum, same day: I also think it’s likely that this will raise the quality of pop culture, as patrons with economic interests won’t want to be associated with mediocre contributions. More education and genuinely witty entertainment, less l’art pour l’art.