Synaptic used to have a textbox that you could use immediately when the app opened to find exactly the package you want. Now it's been removed, and you can only use the Search (which buries you with useless results ... for most queries at least).

I found an article explaining how to re-enable it: Enable Quick Filter Search Box in Synaptic Package Manager, but what I can't understand is why on earth they removed it in the first place?

It's just bizarre for any software to make itself worse seemingly for no reason, and it's especially bizarre in a popular open source tool (with no corporate interests to blame for making things worse for the user).

1 Answer 1


The quick find feature was always reliant on the Xapian indexes, provided by the apt-xapian-index package. What changed wasn’t Synaptic’s behaviour, but rather the presence of apt-xapian-index by default.

Some of the reasons are given in the bug which caused Synaptic’s dependency on Xapian to be demoted (from a recommendation, installed by default along with Synaptic, to a suggestion): maintaining the Xapian index caused performance issues (in 2011). Other packages such as aptitude also demoted their dependency, albeit later, in 2014.

  • 1
    This is very unfortunate though....the filter was the main reason for using a graphical interface...
    – Bruni
    Jun 9, 2023 at 7:00

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