The advantage of a full grown launcher are:
- even never started application will be found typing only few letters
- list all possible matches for the letters you typed so far
- plugins give you actions well beyond starting an application
- uses quite some memory
- the shortcut learned needs to be part of the name, e.g. "int" or "exp" for Internet Explorer and not ie as you my prefer
Creating a directory with shortcuts to all the applications I use didn't make any sense to me. I'm in a shell most of the time. Therefor an alias is the best shortcut. I only have a directory with links to get scripts I've wrote into the path. The scripts are located in a directory tree to reflect projects and are part of a VC.
Replacing Launchy on Windows with a directory containing links will not only save memory. The biggest advantage I see is the name of the shortcut. Like with an alias I'm able to use a name that makes sense to me. Like ie for the Internet Explorer. Or even better using the same name on WIndows and Linux - pws for pwsafe (Windows) and MyPasswordSafe (Linux).
And the plugins? The only one I used is the web plugin. All my Firefox shortcuts, like search on google, search on wikipedia, I've also added to Launchy. But thinking about it, most of the time I entered the shortcut directly in a new Firefox Tab.
The next step for me is, instead of starting an application with Launchy, to create an shortcut link to the application. The advantage is that the same shortcut is usable from the shell. So remove an alias if it exists for the application. And I will automatically get a list with applications I use.