When you type "tell nameofperson blabla", it would be nice if a private chat window would open automatically. Right now it only sends the text I write (and there's no echo so I cannot read what I typed once I sent the text) and I have to manually hit the "New Chat" tab if I want to pursue a discussion with ease.
End of feedback.
But you should never type "tell nameofperson blabla" when you want to open a chatbox for him. You should type
<Ctrl-N> nameofperson <Enter> blabla <Enter>
That is less typing, and would create the chatbox, as well as send the message. If the reason you wanted to send the tell was because you received a tell from that person first, you could even type
<Ctrl-O> blabla <Enter>
which is faster yet. And when you want to initiate the communication from your end, it is still likely to be in response to seeing that person's name in the ICS window somewhere (e.g. in a 'who' command), or you couldn't be sure he is logged on. In that case it is probably still faster to grab the mouse, click his name, click "Open Chat Box" in the context menu (rather than a "New Chat" tab) to open the chatbox, and then type "blabla". (Perhaps unless he has a very short name, and you had your hands already on the keyboard.)
The only reason to type "tell nameofperson blabla" would be for an isolated tell to a person for which you do not want to open a chatbox (e.g. because that would discard a chat you consider still valuable). That would become impossible if typing a tell would automatically open a chatbox. And I'd rather not make that impossible.
A bit unrelated to the title of this thread but relevant nonetheless: it would be nice if the "settings" of the Engine Output would be saved. For example I always want to see Tb Hits and I always have to select it every time I restart xboard. I do not want to see "time" and I have to hide it every time I restart xboard.
Indeed, I imagined something like that would be needed. But it requires a bit of thinking. You might always want to see the same columns, but that doesn't mean that most users want that. It depends on the application. Not all engines produce the same output, and it would obviously be wasteful to show tbhits on an engine that doesn't use EGT. In fact the current design, where both engine panes always show the same, does not seem optimal. It would be better if the panes could be set independently of each other, as you could play one engine that uses EGT, but produces no seldepth against one that does print seldepth but doesn't use EGT. So if we want there to be options to set what should be shown (and saved settings are options), it would be best if there was a -firstColumns and -secondColumns that would allow independent setting of the two engine-output panes. But, like most -first/second options, these really should not be saved in the general settings, but should be associated with specific engines. So that what is shown could be tailored to what the engine produces. Of course there still could be a global default setting for this.
Another issue is the format that should be used to save this settings. Internally XBoard uses a bitmap, each bit associated with a column. This could be saved as a decimal number, but that would make it so cryptic that users would not be able to figure out what to write in the option to achieve a certain effect. An alternative would be to save it as a character string, where each letter stands for a column that should be shown (like t=time, n=nodes, h=tbhits, s=seldepth, e=score, k=knps). Not sure if that is much better, though.
Even more unrelated this time: regarding the program "polyglot". With polyglot make-book, I think it would be more appropriate to set the default of -min-game to 1 rather than 3. It took me some time to find the reason why my book had "cut" lines when I thought I had selected full games. I warned a friend who made an opening book using this program and he thanked me a lot, he didn't know either that the default was on 3 and he remade his book.
Well, Polyglot is only of interest to me as a protocol adapter, and even then I am not sure that in the future I won't replace it by more general UCI2WB as primary UCI adapter. I never considered myself a Polyglot developer, and I only alter it when it is absolutely necessary to make new XBoard features work for UCI engines. The book-building functions are of no interest to me at all, and I am more likely to delete them completely from the version of Polyglot I bundle with WinBoard. (But even for that I am probably too lazy.)