locate is one extremely popular Unix command that allows you to
search for files in a pre-built database.
One little know fact is that Emacs provides a wrapper around the
command you can invoke with
M-x locate. You’ll be prompted to enter
a search string and you’ll be presented with a list of matching
locate’s database. Many of
dired keybindings are
available in the results buffer (which will be using
locate-mode major mode).
If you’d like you may change the command invoked by Emacs to supply the
results by altering the
locate-command variable. Here’s how you can
start using OS X’s
mdfind (the command-line interface to
(setq locate-command "mdfind")
Obviously any command that takes a string argument and returns a list
of files would do here. In all likelihood you’ll never want to use
anything other than the default
locate command, though.