Am I am the only who is slightly less enthusiastic about the changes in version 5?

I hit a number of problems (#4143, #3843, #2026) in the version 4 and 3 releases and was told to upgrade to the developer (5) version, but I have some problems using it, at least on Linux it feels a bit sluggish/slow, and the user interface has become less convenient in my opinion. There are small bugs that really make the daily use hard, and overall I just wish I could go back to some earlier version but without the bugs.

Some of the things I experience:

  • when entering text in any field, characters appear only with a delay, really slow
  • Previously I had a tab with just one field for entering long notes which showed as an entry field with several lines starting from the top. Now it is just an enlarged single line field where the text initially shows up in the middle of the free space.
  • when entering something in the search field while the entry editor is active, focus changes randomly to one of the entry fields and what one intended to enter into the search field ends up overwriting the entry field
  • I had severla segmentation fault crashes already
  • After a crash, the program asks if it should restore the backup-copy but that copy is actually less current than what is in the proper database.
  • The stars for the rating field do not show up properly but as odd artefacts
  • the stars, flag and priority fields do not show properly when the entry line is selected
  • when editing an entry, the corresponding line is not focused and shown in the entry list pane

The problem is that I have started using JabRef when I still loved it and my bib files have grown quite big and I do not know if there is any alternative, apart from maybe a text editor.

How does everyone else feel about the current development version and version 4 (especially on Linux)?

UPDATE: changed the text to make it sound less grumpy. I always was and still am quite fond of this program, but the are bursts of work where I have used it and use it to edit hundreds or thousands of references and the new user interface, apart from the bugs, feels a lot less easy and quick to do what I frequently need which caused me to be grumpy and sound grumpy. Apologies for that!
Still glad the program exists though and very impressed with the way how developers keep going and reacting to user feedback!

Thanks for the feedback concerning the development version. The development version is under active development (surprise, surprise!) and hence there are still some unresolved issues that needs to be addressed before we can release a beta. Most of the issues you mention are actually well-known and we are working on fixing them. For example, the problem concerning the rating should be fixed since a few days.

In general, please have a look a the issues reported at github and please report any additional problems you experience. That would help us to concentrate on fixing these bugs! Many thanks.

This is still there, it’s called Comment (previously it was called notes). Under Option->Set general fields, you can hit the default button. An after a restart of JabRef you will have that textarea for entering a comment.

And some of the other things should be already fixed. Make sure you always use the latest snapshot from

Your comments are most welcome. An alternative to JabRef would be difficult to find if you insist on rather large library files. But before looking for an alternative I would suggest to improve JabRef and I understand this is what developers have been doing.

Although the 4.3.1 GUI does not look perfect on my screens it is the most recent stable version and all the features I need are working (JabRef 4.3.1,
Linux 4.4.159-73-default amd64, Java 1.8.0_181).

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