Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (1461 mails)

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Re: [opensuse] Re: new 'man' behavior: "ask questions *WHY* REVERT?"
  • From: G T Smith <grahamsmith@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 28 May 2009 12:19:42 +0100
  • Message-id: <4A1E734E.9080809@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Hash: SHA1

Dan Goodman wrote:
Joachim Schrod wrote:
Dan Goodman wrote:

PS vi rules, if you take the time to learn how to use it. [...]
And the time to do so is a lot less than the time to learn the
Wordstar-like multi-key sequences of Emacs.

OK, I'll bite. You wanted it, you get it... ;-) :-)

I know vi -- both the original and vim -- better than almost any
hard-core vi fans that I ever met. Actually, those who know vi
better than I do, are no vi `fans' but proficient vi users who
knows the deficiencies of their tool and are therefore no fans any
more. I learned vi back in 1984, and met Emacs in 1988 or so, and
use both until today.

You make some interesting points, but I can't resist a rebuttal.

Every package has its deficiencies, as well as its strengths. And *not*
having to use a mouse is one of the strengths of vi...taking your
fingers off the keyboard just slows you down. And whether or not

Most argue that this is the biggest weakness any modern editor can have
(and if something has a particular functionality it should the users
choice whether or not they use it).

I believe there is evidence that those editors that have mouse
functionality actually increase productivity (if the mouse is used of
course :-) )...

I am a strong advocate of the use of the CLI as a system admin tool, but
using a CLI-like interface in an editor in a modern context makes little
sense. You may be comfortable with it, but I suspect you are part of a

Since we are playing the 'I met it first in year X game '. My first
experience with a line editor was DEC's SOS and edlin/debug on PCs in
the late 70s. SOS was basic but usable, but edlin was a horror story (my
opinions on debug are probably best left unsaid, but editing text files
in a debugger is not my idea of fun). At the time I never thought I
would find something that would make edlin seem good until I first came
across vi in about 1983....


I met vi about three years sooner than you, Emacs about the same time,
and never looked back after seeing the differences.

Emacs has versions that run reasonably consistently on all OS's and a
broad user community whereas vi has never AFAIK had much adoption
outside the *NIX world. One of the biggest errors Novell made with the
first Netware port to (Red Hat) Linux was to present those familiar with
Dos/PCDos/early Windows and Netware a vi based configuration
interface... which got a general WTF is this rubbish type of response
from the Netware people...

I have used Emacs with VAX/VMS, IBM VM, Multics (once but that excursion
I deliberately never repeated), DOS / Windows, PCDos as well a various
*NIX platforms. (Usually the only major problem was identifying the
'magic' keys). I have always found it to be a reliable and useful
working tool on all of these plaforms.

In many situations using tools that are cross platform outside the *NIX
context is extremely useful.

But: Emacs was a revelation, and it still is.
vi is just an editor. Emacs is not an editor, but a working
environment -- that's the whole difference.
vi fits the Unix/software tools philosophy: it does one thing well.

If I want a working environment, there is Eclipse.

Eclipse is a bit heavyweight for simpler tasks. Pico and Joe are
adequate for basic text editing but a little under-powered for
programming projects. Emacs has a good combination of both functions for
smaller projects.

vi is something that should have been put into the dustbin of history
long ago, the only reason for keeping it is legacy support. There is
much talk about the desktop GUI as a barrier to Linux adoption, but the
phasing out of anachronisms like vi is something that needs to be
considered as being part of the same issue.

Or Firefox for
browsing. Or Thunderbird for email. Or pick your own favorite IDE,
browser and mail client, independently of your editor. Choice is good.

?!? We are talking editors here are we not...


"Real hackers know how to use vi, even if they prefer Emacs. But
if you > really know vi, what do you need Emacs for?" ;-)

You know how vi is pronounced, do you?


Nice :-)

denominator editor across hundreds of enterprise boxes and thousands of
remote Linux platforms, for editing.

Nope see above, maybe true for *NIX but *NIX is not the *only* player...

VI will never die. And I am teaching my fifteen year old son to use it,
as part of his education in computing. He already "gets under the hood"

BTW In some parts of the world it is illegal to inflict cruel and
unusual punishment on minors :-)



- --
I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my
My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone.

Bjarne Stroustrup
Version: GnuPG v2.0.9 (GNU/Linux)
Comment: Using GnuPG with SUSE -

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