which is better between Beagle, Google Desktop, and Spotlight?

James Gray james.gray at dot.com.au
Mon Jan 8 08:21:18 UTC 2007

Tshepang Lekhonkhobe wrote:
> Hi,
> (I asked this on debian-user without too many replies)
> I hear good things about Spotlight and hardly ever used Google Desktop
> and Beagle, so out of curiosity do wonder about how they compare with
> each other in terms of memory usage, indexing speed, and breadth of
> search.

I've used both Beagle and Spotlight.  Spotlight is definitely faster and 
more accurate (it returns more relevant results).  It's a bit hard to 
compare though as the data sets on each of the machines was different. 
Beagle is written in Mono, which IMHO kinda sucks a bit.  I wonder if 
there would be much of a speed improvement if it was written in 
something like C++ instead.  I've certainly noticed speed improvements 
in code I've ported from .Net (Mono) to C++.  But millage varied 
significantly depending on what you're trying to do.

One of the REALLY nice features of Spotlight is it's tight integration 
with Apple Mail and other OSX components (which M$ extended even further 
by adding Spotlight hooks into M$-Office).  It's really nice to be able 
to find a single message from the thousands in my mail box from typing 
in two words :)

Beagle seemed to be a bit of resource hog while it was indexing whereas 
(again - is this a failure of design, or a side-effect of Mono??).  I 
haven't noticed a similar slow-down on OSX with Spotlight.  Given that 
Spotlight was written "by Apple for Apple" it consequently is bound to 
work a little more efficiently than an universal search tool such as Beagle.

Having said that though, Beagle is a very useful tool and well worth the 
time and effort to set it up if you find yourself (like me) wondering 
what header file had a particular declaration on and couldn't be 
bothered opening each one until you found what you're after!

> Also watch out for Tracker (www.tracker-project.org) which might soon
> rule over all of them.

Indeed - it looks promising.  FWIW, Spotlight already supports a lot of 
the data sources the tracker project hasn't implemented yet (such as 
e-mail, projects, contacts etc...).  Still, it's certainly a step in the 
right direction :)


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