ForkLift – Best Damned OS X FTP Client

Last night the Cyberduck FTP client gave me trouble for the last time. It frequently asks me to overwrite — and thus re-upload — files. And most of my FTP uploads are of large files (hundreds of megabytes.) I don’t know if the overwrite prompts are because the connection disappears momentarily or what. But they are annoying.

So today I decided to get another FTP client.

I started with this review to get a beginning list of contenders.

To cut to the chase, there was only one FTP client besides Cyberduck I really liked using: ForkLift. I bought it today. Once I’d seen the other clients and ensured SCP/SFTP was working for me with ForkLift, I didn’t hesitate to purchase it.

Here are my notes on the FTP clients I considered:
Forklift (on sale via MacUpdate Promo for $29.95. cf. $44.95)
http://binarynights.com/
Tried it today. Instantly loved it. Just loved it. SCP worked (SFTP). I was instantly hooked.
I like its interface more than Cyberduck, though I definitely appreciate Cyberduck’s price.
Cyberduck
http://cyberduck.ch/
Looks fine to me. But in actual use, sucks for me due to one big problem. Constant problems uploading large files to my client’s FTP site. Hassle. Might be a resume (interruption recovery) problem.

Would I go back to Cyberduck (free) if I didn’t have the upload problem? No, I wouldn’t. Because to me the $30 I paid for ForkLift is totally worth it to use the tool that I know is the most comfortable for me. But would I recommend Cyberduck to someone that wasn’t totally in love with ForkLift? Absolutely! Cyberduck is a terrific tool and it’s definitely my second choice among the OS X FTP clients I’ve tried.
Transmit
http://www.panic.com/transmit/
Tried it. Interface sucks. Windows are tiny and borders are damned thick. Not natural. By way of comparison, ForkLift was just fab from the get-go.
Interarchy
http://nolobe.com/interarchy/
Tried it today, 17 March 2009. I didn’t like using it. Not comfortable at all. I’ll pass.
Yummy
http://www.yummysoftware.com/
I just don’t like the look of it from the Flash screen shot.
Tried it. Didn’t like the interface. Thick borders, though not as thick as Transmit’s borders. Causes a mental disconnect for me.
Fetch
http://fetchsoftworks.com/
Looks ugly to me.
Not even going to try it.
Filezilla
http://filezilla-project.org/download.php
Not pleasant to use. To Windowsy. I use it in Windows on machines I don’t have Directory Opus on and it’s a worthy tool with a great price.

Why I Switched to OS X

I switched to OS X from Windows in late first quarter 2007. I sold my Dell 17“ single-core (Pentium M) notebook and bought a 15.4” 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro to replace it. I immediately started using it with Parallels Desktop 3 with XP Pro and XP Home virtual machines for work. My work requires Windows.

Parallels Desktop 3 has run fine for me since then. I’ve had the virtual machines go corrupt about three times but I always had backups. And no problems recently.

I recently jumped to VMware Fusion 2. So far, it’s been fine. I’m hoping it’ll give me better speed due to its dual-processor/core handling. I haven’t noticed a difference yet. But VMware Fusion 2 has been stable for the month or so I’ve been using it.

Now, why did I switch from Windows? The simpler answer is what kept me from switching sooner?

Reasons Not to Switch to OS X

  1. I didn’t want to miss my Alt- keyboard shortcuts for menu items. OS X doesn’t do them this way. I got over this quickly once I moved to OS X.
  2. I didn’t want to miss my second mouse button. I got used to this quickly.
  3. Slightly different keyboard. I adjusted. It took about a week.
  4. Directory Opus. Man, I still miss Directory Opus. It is the most wonderful thing about still using Windows. Path Finder, which I purchased immediately upon switching, doesn’t hold a candle to Directory Opus. In fact, I hardly use Path Finder.
  5. Beyond Compare 2. I missed Beyond Compare 2 for a long time after switching and knowing there was nothing like it in OS X kept me from switching for a long time. Well, I found DeltaWalker from the gracious folks at Deltopia and my pain is gone.

Reasons to Switch to OS X

  1. It’s really UNIX. Yum.
  2. Trayless, slot-loading optical drive on their notebooks. Superficial? Maybe. But important to me.
  3. Thin notebooks.
  4. No damned paint to rub off on the notebooks like on my Dell. (It took me two years to prove this expectation wrong — my MBP paint is rubbing off now. But AppleCare should cover it.)
  5. Borderless windows. Or single-pixel borders. Awesome.
  6. I was bored of Windows. I wanted a new system to explore and discover.
  7. Other reasons will come to me and I’ll add them here as they do.

VMware Fusion 2

There was a three-day MacUpdate Promo for Parallels Desktop 4 recently. That brought me back to the subject of whether I should upgrade from Parallels Desktop 3, which I use every single day. The upgrade options I would consider are VMware Fusion 2 and Parallels Desktop 4. Sun has some offering, but I’m not seriously considering it. Maybe next time I upgrade I’ll give it a try. I don’t mind paying a little money for a super user experience and blazing speed.

The reviews I read on Parallels Desktop this time, especially Amazon.com user reviews, turned me off of it. Their reports of problems with 4 but no problems with 3 really resonated with me, a happy Parallels Desktop 3 user myself.

So I bought VMware Fusion 2.0 from Amazon.com. There’s a rebate going but Amazon is not listed as a qualifying vendor. However, I priced all the qualifying vendors listed on VMware’s site. Every single one had the same price: $69. And VMware themselves were ten bucks more — for a download! I get a box from the other vendors but VMware had the gall to charge me more for less. So I LM for my VMware sales rep. No reply for days. I called back, talked to a guy who said he’s relay this to my sales rep. No one got back to me.

Screw it, I decided to buy from Amazon.com. Their price was lower than the other guys ($54 the day I bought) and there’s no bullshit and no shipping charges since I have Amazon Prime prepaid second-day shipping. Also, it’s easier to buy from Amazon than the other guys because Amazon’s purchase line is so good and I’m already set up for a quick purchase.

In the end, I calculated that buying from Amazon would cost me $12 more than buying from the guys with the rebate and including eight dollars shipping from one of those vendors. And no rebate hassle with Amazon — just a fair price today.

So I got my VMware box in the mail from Amazon and it had a blue sticker on the box that read, “$30 Crossgrade Rebate; Details Inside; Expires 6/30/09; ALA31045159”. That’s the best of both worlds! Thank you, Amazon! That means Amazon not only had the best purchase experience but also the lowest final price. Wow.