Butler 4 update and Butler 5 pre-sale

Today we’re releasing a minor Butler update (to version 4.1.7), which includes support for Sparkle (to automate future updates), and fixes some issues with non-standard iTunes library locations, visual glitches when dragging, and incorrectly-placed System Preferences panels.

Butler should (if you’ve enabled checking for updates) indicate that this update is available, and take you to the web page to download it. If it doesn’t, just click the Download link on the Butler web page to get it. Note that Butler now requires 10.5 or newer; if you’re still running 10.4, you’ll want to skip this update. (The older version is still downloadable from our web site, in case you accidentally upgraded).

The other news in this update is some preparation for Butler 5’s release. Butler now displays the standard Many Tricks’ software license, though it doesn’t actually do any license checking—so Butler is still unlimited shareware. There are no nag screens, nothing expires, and no features are restricted to paying customers. (And we’ll always offer a version of Butler 4 for download from our site.)

Butler 5, however, will be true shareware, much like our other major apps. Given we’re still working on features, interface, etc., we’re not sure what the restrictions will be, nor have we settled on a price for Butler 5. However, we’d like to reward those who have bought Butler 4 in the past, and those who may buy it before Butler 5 is released. To do that, we’re announcing the Butler 5 pre-sale:

If you purchase Butler 4 ($20) between now and Butler 5’s release date, you’ll receive a free upgrade to Butler 5 when it ships. In addition, as explained in this older blog post, all past donors (assuming you have proof of donation) will also receive free Butler 5 licenses. This is our way of offering some price protection against an unknown price, and rewarding both those who purchased Butler in the past and those who purchase it going forward, knowing Butler 5 is coming.

So if you’ve been holding off on contributing for Butler 4, now’s the time to do so—it’s like buying Butler 4 and an upgrade to Butler 5, but for the price of Butler 4 alone.

37 Responses to “Butler 4 update and Butler 5 pre-sale”

  1. Rob Weber says:

    I am SO HAPPY to hear that Butler 5 is closer to release. It’s one of my favorite apps… I participated in the Welcome Back purchase program a while back; please check that blog post and clarify the upgrade from Butler 4 to 5. I interpret some discrepancies after reading today’s post. Thanks in advance for all the effort into Butler’s development!

  2. Rob Griffiths says:

    Actually, I don’t think there’s a conflict. In that post, I wrote: “(Name Mangler was just updated, and a Butler update is quite a ways out, so this bundled upgrade feature doesn’t apply to those two products.)”

    That was true then, this is true now. But note that the timeframe extends *back* over a full year, too: anyone who bought Butler on/after March 1st, 2009 is entitled to a free Butler 5 upgrade when it comes out — you just need to hold onto your purchase receipt.

    So if you bought Butler 4 during the Welcome Back sale event, you’re entitled to a free Butler 5 upgrade.


  3. Jools says:

    What about “The Future of the Butler (Butler 4.1.6) post: http://manytricks.com/blog/?p=144 where it clearly states:

    “Butler 5 will be shareware. As always, past donators will get free licenses once we start distributing Butler 5 licenses;”

    I’m a past donator – so I still get a free license, yes?

  4. rupert says:

    What’s the correct price now? Clicking the ‘Purchase Butler 4 now’ shows me a price of 30 USD, but in all other places it says 20 USD. What gives?

  5. Rob Griffiths says:


    That post pre-dates my involvement with Many Tricks, and I wasn’t actually aware it was there. However, we’ll clearly honor what’s written there, so I’ll edit this post to reflect the fact that all prior donors will be covered.


    The price now is $20; if you’re seeing $30, it’s probably a cache issue. Can you try in another browser?


  6. Malloon says:

    “…rewarding both those who purchased Butler recently and those who purchase it going forward…”

    What of us who contributed while Butler was still in beta. What of us who put food on your table whilst you gave birth to Butler? Are we so old and hideous upon your eyes that we are not worthy of reward?

    Horribly exaggerated, I’ll admit. But you get the idea. Not saying I want Butler 5 for free, but some token of recognition would be nice. Some kind gesture so we don’t feel like chumps for contributing too soon to a great app many got for free.

  7. Malloon says:

    My previous comment was being written as you responded to Jools. In light of your response I humbly retract my statement.

  8. Rob Griffiths says:


    It seems there was an older commitment I wasn’t aware of — I’ve updated the blog post to reflect that all prior donors will get Butler 5 for free.


  9. billearl says:

    Great to see an update to Butler! And Peter back in action!

    I donated in 2007, so am entitled to Butler 5 when it’s released. However, a voluntary upgrade fee for Butler 5 (maybe half price) would be okay if that can be accommodated.

  10. rupert says:


    No issue remains. Tried in Firefox, cleared out all private data. Should I just click the “Buy Now” link on Butler’s main page?

  11. Tom says:

    I’ve simply paid again, acting as if I had a loss of memory. I think I have donated twice in the past, perhaps even triple.

    “But why?”, you may ask. Very easy: I want Many Tricks to be able to live from the income. I know that I am only one person, so my pay won’t be enough to survive, but Butler has given me so much and continues to give me. I’m sure that I use it up to a hundred times daily without even thinking of it.

    Cheers, Tom

  12. rupert says:


    Whatever, I just bought it now from the main page for 20 USD. Tom’s comment made me think how valuable Butler is to me and that I’m happy to support you guys.

  13. Terry says:

    So when can we expect our licenses for Butler and Name Mangler for previous donators then?
    Will they be sent out automatically or do we have to contact you?

  14. Rob Griffiths says:


    For Name Mangler, just drop me an email about your prior donation, as covered in this blog post: http://manytricks.com/blog/?p=274

    For Butler, we’ll be posting more info on the process when Butler 5 is released. Basically, though, if you donated after March 22, 2010, you’ll get a license automatically. If it was before that, you’ll need to email me for a license.


  15. Rob Griffiths says:


    That’s a good idea; we’ll see if we can’t find an easy way to make that happen.


  16. acepelon says:

    This program makes my workflow so fast that it alone is reason enough to stick with the Mac platform when I’ve had so many hardware and other software stability issues with 10.5 and 10.6+ on my iMac and Macbook. All of those favoring Quicksilver (etc) I truly believe haven’t investigated all of the magic you can do with this program. I have tried them all, from Mac to Windows (even using programs like Find and Run Robot), and I would still recommend Butler above them all.

  17. C Hendrick says:

    I finally chipped in can’t wait to see what Butler 5 will do! I would be more than happy to help Beta 5 if you need any feedback. Also thank you for the Pathfinder support its been there a while but thanks.

    Can’t Wait


  18. Josh says:

    This is very tempting, as I use Butler every day.

    However I think that Manytricks will have to sell me on Butler 5 before I buy – what will change?
    (I’d even be happy with a list of things that may or may not make it in, I just can’t think of anything significant that would improve Butler beyond where it is now)

    • Rob Griffiths says:

      There is no list as of yet that we’re willing to share. One focus area is the interface, though — I want to make it easier to use while keeping all the power it presently has. We do have a list of 20ish smaller things that we’d like it to do better, and a number of planned new features. But as of now, that list will stay private; it’s just too early to share.

      If there are things you’d like to see, of course, we’d love to hear about them.


  19. nev says:

    On this page the price for Butler 4 is stated as $20, yet if I go to pay, it clearly says $30, and no, it’s no “caching issue” …

  20. Rob Griffiths says:

    I’m just not seeing this anywhere — I’ve tried Safari, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and OmniWeb. All of them show this dialog when you click the Buy Now button in the gray header area:

    Can you tell me which browser you’re using, which version of Mac OS X, and probably most importantly, exactly where you’re seeing the $30 cost? (I will also add that not one of the Butler transactions since we added this sale has come in at $30; they’ve all been $20.)


  21. Rob Griffiths says:

    I think I found the cause of the $30 price showing up, and I’ve fixed it. If you do see it again now, it really is a cache issue, related to the cookie for the online store. (I saw it in Firefox, which I’d been using, but not in Chrome, where I tested the fix.)

    If anyone is actually charged $30, we’ll immediately refund the extra $10 — I’ve checked all the sales so far, and there were five customers who paid $30. I’ve sent all five a $10 refund.


  22. Jijoe Vurghese says:

    Any discounts for multiple purchases? Say, for 2 or more?


    • Rob Griffiths says:

      Our licensing is such that you only need more than one license if you have more than one user — that is, you can install our apps on as many machines as you own or use, and only need more than one license if more than one person will be using our apps at the same time.

      Because of this, we’ve never bothered to come up with a volume discount plan. Email me directly (use the About page to send me an email) if you want to discuss your purchase plans; I’m sure we can work something out.


  23. Tom says:

    This, IMHO, is an amazingly user-friendly licensing policy. I only hope that you folks don’t shoot yourself in your foot, so to speak, if you know what I mean. I hope you do. Rob? Peter? Do both of you read me? ;-) Just twitch your face if so, no reply necessary :-D

    I’m sure 100% of your customers want you to stay in business and thrive and continue to produce beautiful and useful software.

    Cheers, Tom

  24. C Hendrick says:

    Rob after reading your statement above about the upcoming Butler 5 … sorta sound like your still in the planing stage with it? Do you have a timeline for its release?

  25. Rob Griffiths says:

    C Hendrick:

    We have a rough timeline for it, as detailed here: http://manytricks.com/blog/?p=327 — basically, end-of-year, though we’re working on it here and there as we have time. It’s our most complex product, and will take the most time to update correctly, which is why it’s slated at the end of the year.


  26. Rob Griffiths says:


    It’s the policy we felt was fairest to users and would encourage them to register the software — the way our programs work, if you want to use them on one of your Macs, you want to use them on all of your Macs, more than likely. So buy it and use it as you wish, as long as you’re the only one using it at the same time.


  27. Tom says:

    @Rob: Yes, that’s how I understood you and Many Tricks’ license policy. It’s, well, how to say it … humane or something like that. Fits with how I know Peter, BTW. Philantropic, you understand?

    Anyway, I only wish that Many Trick’s business spills enough money into both your purses o that you can afford to keep to this licensing policy. You know, I myself have too often offered my works accompanied with “Well, how much can you pay?” But OK, I guess I’d do it again the same way :-D

    Remember Unsanity’s promise for free lifetimes updates/upgrades? They haven’t been able to keep this up, which for me is very understandable considering the steady rise of living costs. Best intentions, but IMHO too idealistic. But I guess and hope that many of your customers can judge the worth of your software to them quite well and will pay you according to this judgement. I at least try to do so, following “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

  28. Detlef says:

    I bought or donated $18 in 2004. I still have the email receipt. Do I qualify for a free upgrade? If yes, how do I do it. I have not seen a procedure for free upgrades.

    • Rob Griffiths says:

      We haven’t published the procedure yet, as Butlr 5 is targeted for a late 2010 release (as seen on our timeline). Once we get to the release, we’ll publish more details, but they basically involve emailing me the receipt.


  29. Jeremy says:

    I donated for Butler years ago. I appreciate the free upgrade, but honestly, I’d gladly pay a half-price upgrade or something like that. Of course, the fact that you’re not asking me to is part of the reason I’d be happy to.

  30. Tom says:

    Mh… makes me very glad to see that I’m not the only one of your users who views it this way. But then again, I always thought so ;-)

    I raise a toast on you folks! (w/peppermint tea :-))

    Cheers, Tom

  31. Howard says:

    I too have donated for Butler many years ago, but upon reflection this app is so useful that it is worth a re-buy. My Butler 4 license has already been purchased.

    Keep up the good work and looking forward to version 5.

  32. Diane Ross says:

    I’ve used LaunchBar for years. I would be interested in seeing a comparison between the products. Does Butler have a feature(s) that would entice me to switch?

    I installed v4 to check things out and first thing I noticed was the web icon in the Menu bar is remarkably close to IC-Switch.

    • Rob Griffiths says:

      I’m not sure exactly which icon you’re referring to — the one for web searching, or URL bookmarks, or something else? Butler long predates my arrival at Many Tricks, and I won’t purport to speak for Peter and say I know where all the icons come from.

      As for a comparison, it’s one of the things on my list to do, but I wasn’t going to really dive into it until we were closer to Butler 5’s release. Both are launchers and do many other things, and it’s really a question of what you’re most comfortable with. Butler is set up around keyboard shortcuts, with the ability to also use entries in the menu bar and docklet. I also don’t know LaunchBar well enough to answer the question at this point. What I like about Butler is how it’s a bunch of tools rolled into one – iTunes controller, multi-item permanent clipboard, it compiles and runs AppleScripts, easy creation of pop-up folders, simple macros and text substitutions, search numerous web sites via keyboard-activated pop-up menus, and oh so much more.

      Check back towards the end of the year and hopefully I’ll have some more formal comparison work done.


  33. Peter Maurer says:

    Diane, I hadn’t heard of IC-Switch before, but I just did a little web search, and I think I know what you mean:

    If you’re referring to the networked globe icon IC-Switch uses both for its menu bar representation and for its prefpane—neither Philippe Martin nor I came up with that. The icon has actually been Apple’s standard icon for all things related to networking for years, and a lot of developers have consequently used that icon to stand for networking stuff.

    Apple never seemed to mind. On the contrary, they have always encouraged interface consistency throughout apps, and they have in fact made a lot of those icons available from within their frameworks in recent Mac OS X versions. This includes the network icon (“NSImageNameNetwork”), which has been toned down a little in the meantime. It’s still basically the same thing, though, as you can see by having a look at Mac OS X 10.6’s “Network” system preferences, for instance. The original, more bluish icon, which Apple started using for their .Mac service at some point, is still available, too (“NSImageNameDotMac”). A variation of the latter is also used for Apple’s software updating services.

    Oh, and by the way, Butler actually uses a slightly different icon, namely Safari’s standard bookmark icon. If you look closely, you can spot the Americas on that one, as opposed to the network icon’s connected sources of light.