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I usually have to launch different instances of the same application (in my case of Eclipse).

I launch them from the terminal as follows

nohup /Applications/eclipse/eclipse -data ${workspace} 2>&1 > /dev/null &

where ${workspace} is different for each invocation.

Everything works well but for the fact that I cannot distinguish among instances in the Dock or while switching applications with command+tab.

enter image description here

Is there a way to differentiate them either by changing the application name under the icon or by dynamically changing the icon?

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This is a solution for your particular issue, and not OSX apps in general on which I believe do not have this issue.

Workspace identifiers for Eclipse on OSX

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It's not a great solution, but if you don't mind taking up a bit extra space, you could:

  • find some other icon, and copy it to the clipboard
  • make a copy of the Eclipse .app
  • in the Finder, "Get Info"
  • click the Eclipse icon, and paste your icon there
  • from the Terminal, launch these two .apps, rather than the same app twice
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