In the default file manager in Ubuntu 13.04, typing produces different behavior: It used to try to match what you type as a prefix to some file in the current directory; now, it initiates what looks like a recursive substring/subsequence search for files. Is there any way to restore the previous behavior?
No, there's no way to restore that behaviour without installing nemo, or compiling your own copy of nautilus 3.4. This "feature" (I find it useful, too), was replaced in favour of the new behaviour. To install nemo:
Note: AskUbuntu does not provide support for Nemo, and the only people who do are Linux Mint.