back to article Oh, the things Vim could teach Silicon Valley's code slingers

Vim text editor turned 25 late last year – the first public iteration was launched on November 2, 1991, a couple of weeks after Linus Torvalds announced Linux. To celebrate Vim's anniversary, creator Bram Moolenaar recently dropped version 8.0. Ordinarily the update of a text editor wouldn't be worth mentioning, but this is …

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"Vim's biggest rival, GNU Emacs,"

No. Vim's real rival is the original vi. Many years ago I took my first look at vim. I often used vi to quickly doctor files from the MS world for use in Unix systems by removing the trailing CRs from line ends. One day I found myself using vim & discovered it had been configured to hide the CRs. If it could be configured to do that maybe it could be configured to hide other stuff? I felt it wasn't trustworthy. Since then I've avoided vim if vi (or nvi) is available.

In the light of the what the article says it's worth recalling a flame comment I once read in favour of vim based on how rarely vi was updated.

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Trollface

> I felt it wasn't trustworthy.

So you edited away.

And then Intel Management Engine just opened a port to all comers.

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@Doctor Syntax

Did you know that Bill Joy's codebase variations of vi (I can think of at least six off the top of my head) can be configured to similarly hide CRs from line ends? So can traditional vi, and elvis, and nvi, and ...

SO ... which version of vi do you find "trustworthy"? Inquiring minds & all that.

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Re: @Doctor Syntax

But you said it yourself:

"CAN be configured to" as opposed to vim's IS configured to.

Vi out of the box isn't configured to do that, and the user has the choice to do so. Whereas vim is the opposite, it is configured out of the box to hide them. And, unless you know that that is a feature of vim, and in fact if you even know you ARE using vim (most Linux's these days symlink vi to vim, so you could be using vim without realising it - initially at least) then you might not even realise it's not showing things you'd expect it to. That can cause all sorts of trouble.

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Anonymous Coward

set list

set list

Toggles display of hidden characters in vi and vim

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gv

Frameworks

The problem with "frameworks" is that, like buses, there will be another one along in a little while.

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Pint

Re: Frameworks

"The problem with "frameworks" is that, like buses, there will be another one along in a little while."

And quite possibly three along at once (97, Birmingham, only recourse is a beer)

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Headmaster

As a long-time Vim user (since 2005 or so)

Get off my lawn you young whippersnapper, etc... etc...

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Re: As a long-time Vim user (since 2005 or so)

I much prefered EDT and TPU, personally.

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Coat

Re: As a long-time Vim user (since 2005 or so)

Get off my lawn you young whippersnapper, etc... etc...

Ah, but what about those who use Vim scouring powder.

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Roo

Re: As a long-time Vim user (since 2005 or so)

"I much prefered EDT and TPU, personally."

I did enjoy using TPU, but the joy was derived from the sense of achievement I got from mastering something awkward. Once I got stuck into Emacs/vi/sed/awk I never looked back. :)

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Re: As a long-time Vim user (since 2005 or so)

@Roo

EMACS is the marmite of the software world: you love it or you hate it.

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Re: As a long-time Vim user (since 2005 or so)

Heathen!

TECO forever!!!!!

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Coat

Ah, but what about those who use Vim scouring powder.

Ajax.

Thanks - it's the one with the bleaching powder stains ....

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Re: Ah, but what about those who use Vim scouring powder.

gVim

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Re: As a long-time Vim user (since 2005 or so)

I knew that was coming! Best text editor ever.

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Re: As a long-time Vim user (since 2005 or so)

>I knew that was coming! Best text editor ever.

Pretty much find vi (or vim) and Geany if I need a GUI text editor to be all I need on any platform even for an IDE. My only complaint really about Geany is it being dependent on GTK which is heading to being Linux only before too long. Hopefully someone ports it to Qt eventually.

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Re: As a long-time Vim user (since 2005 or so)

EDT was my DEC editor of choice. Lighter weight than EDiT. I used ini files for EDiT to make it act like EDT, until conversion to HPUX in 2011 and I had to say goodbye to OpenVMS. I then used VI to relive my days with...

TECO on RT11. That was the cat's meow. Coded an entire financial report system in FORTRAN using a VT52.

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Re: As a long-time Vim user (since 2005 or so)

Next thing you know, you'll be praising TECO, and I shall have to call the police.

(This is where we need a "Get off my lawn, young whippersnappers" icon)

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Re: As a long-time Vim user (since 2005 or so)

meh, ed is so much better!

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Headmaster

Re: As a long-time Vim user (since 2005 or so)

"TECO forever!!!!!"

Don't use new-fangled stuff like that, all you need is ED!

(Starts searching through DECUS tape directory listings...)

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Coat

Re: As a long-time Vim user (since 2005 or so)

I much prefered EDT and TPU, personally.

You are probably thinking of EVE. TPU wasn't an editor, rather it was a text programming language intended for writing editors, but it came with EVE, the Extensible VAX Editor. This was written in TPU and intended to be an extensible emulation of EDT although it never quite succeeded in getting the basic emulation right.

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swm

Re: As a long-time Vim user (since 2005 or so)

I would use ed on a random system (because it was always available) and it worked well. 2005? I was coding in 1960 on an LGP-30 so get off MY lawn!

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Happy

Re: This is where we need a "Get off my lawn, young whippersnappers" icon

Google "Hey, you kids get the F off my lawn". There's a scene from a Canadian TV series (Corner Gas). They used the scene in a commercial for the show itself, and first time I heard it (wasn't actually watching), I couldn't believe what I was hearing, was allowed on prime time TV.

Got a chuckle next time it ran, and I saw the video to go along with the audio. Been using the picture of the kids, and what they are holding in every internet rant since.

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Re: Ah, but what about those who use Vim scouring powder.

Always preferred Flash myself. Now there's a sentence I didn't think I'd ever write on the Register!

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Re: As a long-time Vim user (since 2005 or so)

Nobody who actually used TECO was sad to see it go. Well, no one I ever heard of (or can possibly imagine).

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Re: As a long-time Vim user (since 2005 or so)

Except EMACS users, of course ... From my fortune file:

''Initially, if I remember correctly, EMACS was Eugene Ciccarelli's init file which made use of MIT TECO's ^R mode ("Realtime") that repainted the screen. RMS started hacking on it around '76 I think and it kind of, um, grew."

Unfortunately, the quote is un-attributed, sorry ...

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Re: As a long-time Vim user (since 2005 or so)

Heathen!

TECO forever!!!!!

The nostalgia of editor wars, eh?

EX$$

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Happy

Re: As a long-time Vim user (since 2005 or so)

"EVE ... was written in TPU and intended to be an extensible emulation of EDT although it never quite succeeded in getting the basic emulation right.

EVE's first stab at EDT emulation gave you the worst of both worlds (no command line mode for either editor IIRC), but it improved an awful lot after that.

Once EVE's EDT keypad matured I would use that most of the time, but drop into EDT where that was more suitable for the task at hand. Best of both worlds.

Vim's clear advantage over either is its ability to get stuff done when function keys or alternate keypad mode (or even cursor arrow keys) aren't available.

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Ah - the good old days

Back in 1990, I wrote a DOS text editor called EasyEdit. By 1004 it was up to version 3 - and there it stuck.

I recently pulled it out, loaded up a DOS emulator and ran it. It still works - it still creates nice (if a text file can be called nice) files and it still doesn't crash.

Like you I do get fed up with "advances". Sure, fix bugs (but why were they not found in the first place), but for 99% of the world, what we have now is plenty good enough.

Alan

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Re: Ah - the good old days

>By 1004 it was up to version 3 - and there it stuck.

You and yer new fangled paper! When I were a lad we 'ad t' chisel letters out o' granite, w' our teeth!

And we were glad of it!

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Re: Ah - the good old days

Granite? We used to dream about chiseling letters in granite!

We had to scratch them into hot lava with our bare hands!

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Alien

Re: Ah - the good old days

Yes, von Däniken wrote about that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ah - the good old days

Carving hot lava w t'bare hands? Bah, that's f' softies. In ma day we 'ad t'tinker w' t' goings on in pre-nova star t' get t' sparkly bit o' the stellar explosion t' spell out words against t' cosmic background. And you had t' travel at light-speed so as t' keep up with the expanding shell o' radiations if you wanted t' be able t' read it at leisure.

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Headmaster

By 1004 it was up to version 3 - and there it stuck.

You need to fix that y2k calendar bug there .... Version 4 ahoy.

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Devil

Re: Ah - the good old days

>Like you I do get fed up with "advances". Sure, fix bugs (but why were they not found in the first place), but for 99% of the world, what we have now is plenty good enough.

Hum, no, I like advances ... Problem is, since 2001 in the Windows world and roughly 2007 in the Linux world, the younger, inexperienced, have taken over development and their definition of "advance" is not really mine.

The Linux world is more and more littered with monolithic enthusiasts, who think "the more this binary can do the better and it is so powerful that it is normal that it be dependent on all this other stuff ... ". Obviously, with bloat come bugs ... we are shifting from screwdriver, wrench, knife, spoon, and fork to Swiss army knives for everything, certainly not something I call advance.

The windows world is littered with Ux nutters who "somehow" thought toddler colours is better (XP), then the more clicks the merrier (Vista/7), and finally came to the conclusion that a 3" screen is the same as a 30" screen (h8/10). They are only starting to revert back to something that seems to make more sense, however, as much as the jump to tablet ui was sudden, it somehow takes them years to revert back, for no apparent technical reason.

Containers are cool, for example, a good progress ... I do not have to write the examples of bad progress, we all know them ....

Beastie icon, the closest I could find

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ah - the good old days

"Back in 1990, I wrote a DOS text editor..."

Didn't everyone back then? Seem to recall writing one as part of my HNC.

Text editors, Word Processing programs etc have become way too complicated. Most people don't want or need all the functionality that Word provides. All the added complexity makes their life harder not simpler.

George R.R Martin apparently uses WordStar 4.0 to write GoT - keep it simple, dude!

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Re: Ah - the good old days

George R.R Martin apparently uses WordStar 4.0 to write GoT

Is that an endorsement, or a criticism, though...

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Re: Ah - the good old days

"Containers are cool, for example, a good progress ... I do not have to write the examples of bad progress, we all know them ...."

To be fair, on a properly configured unix system with decent security settings and appropriately set up

LD_LIBRARY_PATH you wouldn't even need containers. Users and applications could happily operate alongside each other with little issue. In fact back in the day I remember one of my old university HP-UX boxes happily managing to support literally hundreds of users simultaniously just using normal user-group-world permissions and quotas. Containers and VMs in general are really for OS's , ok Windows , whose chinese walls leave something to be desired or where you really need different OS's running but only have 1 box to do it on.

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Re: Ah - the good old days

"The Linux world is more and more littered with monolithic enthusiasts, who think "the more this binary can do the better and it is so powerful that it is normal that it be dependent on all this other stuff ... ". Obviously, with bloat come bugs ... we are shifting from screwdriver, wrench, knife, spoon, and fork to Swiss army knives for everything, certainly not something I call advance."

Perfect example, that piece of shit, bat-shit crazy systemd. That should have never have been conceived let alone gotten far enough along to need an abortion. It still baffles me why that's got the legs it has.

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Re: Ah - the good old days

"That should have never have been conceived let alone gotten far enough along to need an abortion. It still baffles me why that's got the legs it has."

Red Hat. Poettering works for them. If he'd been a lone developer he'd have been laughed out of town but because dead rat are a Big Deal in the linux world people tend to follow them like sheep.

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Anonymous Coward

Vi and Vim are the spawn of Satan

That is all.

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^^^^

Emac user - enough said.

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Devil

Re: Vi and Vim are the spawn of Satan

Uhm... I guess you haven't had to work on things like wylbur. That was Satan's work!

When I was in high school, I borrowed my brother's copy of Stallman's paper on Emacs that he had on micro cards. (Not film but cards. Had to go to the public library in order to read it. Our school only had the film readers) [Again, I'm aging myself...]

Emacs is a bit interesting, and if not installed correctly could cause a security hole. (I guess you need to be a Unix admin from way back when to understand that. So we insisted on everyone using vi.

Vi isn't the spawn of satan. It was free and consistent across the universe. Emacs may or may not exist. So you ended up sticking vi.

And yes, I'm that old that I always type in vi and not vim. The devil face because I remember when BSD first came out. :-P

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Re: Vi and Vim are the spawn of Satan

I use whichever vi clone is on the computer I'm using.

At home, I've been using elvis on Slackware since Slack 0.99 (:version reports "elvis 1.7 by Steve Kirkendall 30 December 1992") ... although I'll admit that I've been using gVim more than elvis-in-an-Xterm on my GUI of choice for over a decade and a half.

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Re: Vi and Vim are the spawn of Satan

Not so. SATAN was released in '95, many years after vi, and a couple after vim.

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Re: Vi and Vim are the spawn of Satan

If you were a nerd, sitting at your own computer, writing to alt.flame, you used emacs.

If you were a highly paid software contractor visiting many *nix equipped sites, you bloody well learned vi, because it was the only editor you could guarantee was on every *nix system.

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Re: Vi and Vim are the spawn of Satan

Yes, and the devil has all the best tunes ;)

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Anonymous Coward

Comparing a text editor to a web browser is a nonsense

Web browser became mini-OS onto which whole applications are run. And they have to cope with new needs - some sensible, others truly marketing driven.

Text files didn't change much in the last twenty years. Sure, you may have to cope with Unicode now, but not much else.

It would make more sense to compare Vim to IDEs, because a lot of users use it for programming tasks.

But I started to use an IDE thirty years ago and never looked back...

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Re: Comparing a text editor to a web browser is a nonsense

"Web browser became mini-OS onto which whole applications are run. "

If that is your differentiation between text editors and browsers, you are clearly not an Emacs user.

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