I decided to stop using a Java-based IRC client, jIRC for one written specifically for OS X (I’ve been using OS X at home and Linux for work)–the Mac utility, Colloquoy, is just excellent in all ways. And what I realized is that for some tools like this, the issue isn’t Java versus another language, or SWT vs Swing, but rather that Java has to offer a compelling platform to target so that good, experienced application developers target it for their apps. There are tons of junk applications written in C or C++ that are just as ugly, slow and annoying to use as the worst Java GUI app you’ve ever used. It’s just that overall enough of the right people are attracted to the non-Java platforms that we end up with a good selection of good apps to use.
I still use jEdit regularly, although not full-time anymore; it used to be my editor of choice. If you’re a programmer, I think jEdit proves the cross-platform goals of Java really pay off. I also use Cyberduck, an FTP client for the Mac, which is also written in Java. Really great tool. The best thing is, they don’t mention Java once on their home page. I’m pretty sure they only have a UI for the Mac, which is fine by me in this case. What I like is that they are using Java to get the job done, and it helps them get the job done.
Point being: I try to choose great tools. Some of them are written in Java. End of story.