Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (4570 mails)

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Re: [SLE] Re: early vi -- ed -- edlin
  • From: "Paul W. Abrahams" <abrahams@xxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 11 Nov 2005 18:12:26 +0000 (UTC)
  • Message-id: <200511111310.58525.abrahams@xxxxxxx>
I was around in the early days of vee-eye (not "vie"), aka vi, and I've never
liked it. The fact that it's built on top of a truly horrendous line editor,
ex, is a particularly unpleasant flaw, which shows itself in the need to use
"ex" commands for many operations such as inserting one file within another.

The particular bit of execrable human engineering in vi that bugs me the most
is the mode dependence. Vi is extraordinarily vulnerable to mistyping; a
couple of wrong keystrokes in insert mode and you're in command mode where
the text you're typing can just about wipe out your file. It's too bad that
vi still occupies a prominent place in Linux; as I remember it's the editor
you need to use to modify the sudoers file (or maybe it's some other system
file). Even the DOS editors are better, and they can operate from a command
line also -- which is of course what you need when you're working with a
crippled system where X isn't an option. And of course there's Emacs, which
can be overwhelming but also doesn't require a window system.

Paul

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