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Notice: This program is PowerPC only and will not work with Lion 10.7 or any later version of Mac OS X. I do not use an Intel Mac, and have no plans to update this software. You are welcome to use it with 10.6 and below.


[ICON] OpenAlpha is a simple utility for OS X that forces all files dropped on it to be passed to their respective application(s) and opened in sorted, alphabetical order. It figures out which applications are needed using LaunchServices (through a clever tool built-in to the application called launch), and completes the task for you.

The sorting feature probably seems very esoteric, but there is a use for it, particularly in those applications where order of files matters but the application itself does not sort them (10.2.8 Preview comes to mind and was in fact the reason I wrote it originally). OpenAlpha solves the problem by sorting the files first so that they are handed to the application in the correct order for viewing. If, say, you dropped a load of .txts, .jpegs and a few folders on OpenAlpha, then Preview would open with the .jpegs sorted, TextEdit with the .txts and Finder windows with the folder, automatically.

OpenAlpha is open-source freeware. The source (in Perl), Makefile and ancillary resources and binaries are included. It uses components from Nicholas Riley's launch tool and Sveinbjorn Thordarson's Platypus. These are built-in to the application, although if you plan to modify OpenAlpha, you should download them. Please read README.rtf for information about the license and building your own custom versions.

OpenAlpha is a PowerPC application, but should run under emulation on Intel Macintoshes. It requires Mac OS X Jaguar 10.2.8 or higher, and has been tested on 10.4.6 as well.

Send comments to ckaiser@floodgap.com.
Cameron Kaiser