Thunar, XFCE's file manager, was a pretty late addition to my core set of tools that I rely on to accomplish day-to-day tasks. I started using it heavily maybe 2 or 3 years ago. For the longest time before that I had been using ranger, a console file manager.

The ability to move and copy files around between multiple directories using drag-and-drop is basically Thunar's killer feature for me. I'm often faster using the mouse to select a bunch of files and then quickly dragging them someplace else. In comparison, ranger's select-then-yank-and-paste workflow feels very cumbersome.

However, there's always been a feature in ranger that Thunar did not have - the very simple but powerful ability to filter the current directory listing by showing only files matching a given pattern. There's a more or less hidden way to have Thunar select files matching a wildcard with CTRL-S, but that relies on popping up an extra dialogue, and doesn't play well with interactive use.

Very early on I found a feature request for this, but it looked largely abandoned and I forgot about it until today when, to my extreme surprise, I discovered that it was implemented just 3 months ago. There does not seem to have been any large fanfare around it; the changelog buries it in more miscellaneous changes. Not a big deal.

Way more worrisome, however, is that the commit implementing the feature does not introduce any user-facing documentation. Nowhere is explained how the new feature works and what its limitations are. I had to go read the code to find out why my search results were littered with seemingly random files in other directories. Turns out that it consults files in GtkRecent too, merging results in the current directory with matches of files you had recently opened, regardless of their location.

A terrible default in my opinion, so I immediately turned it off by disabling the gtk-recent-files-enabled property in my GTK config. Thankfully you can still do that, albeit in a system-wide fashion, but I don't care about recent files.

Still, it's really sad I had to go out of my way to find that out. A less tech-savvy user could not have done that so easily. It would lower the bar tremendously here to describe what a new feature does and point out how to configure it.

A failure to do so makes software intransparent and hostile, furthers the notion that the user experience is inherently bad, and very quickly leads to resignation in the common user base.