Original vi available

Seth W. Klein sk at sethwklein.net
Sat Feb 2 13:20:39 PST 2002

Gerard Beekmans <gerard at linuxfromscratch.org> wrote:
> <snip>
> That aside, I'm personally not convinced if 'vi' should be used. The only
> real argument I can think of is "because others use it" or "it's a historic
> thing". I'm not looking at what others do, I'm looking at the best thing.
> <snip>

My reason than an editor should be in the book is that there are a
trillion (well, close ;) things on a Linux system that can only be
changed by editing a text file. A Linux system without an editor is
a Linux system you can't fix.

My reason that it should be a vi family editor is not that everyone uses
it; they don't, a (very) few use emacs ;> It is not that everyone used
to use it; again, they didn't.

My reason for the vi family is that it is the only editor everyone can
be expected to know about. And even then, i don't expect any LFS user
to actually use the editor in the book. They'll install their own. But
consider this situation:

I ssh into Joe's machine to fix something for him. As always, this
requires editing a file. I normally use vim, so i try that.
"bash: vim: command not found". Uh-huh. vi, nope. ed, nope. pico, nope.
nano, nope. joe, nope. ee, nope. ae, nope. ne, nope. If the connection
is fast, i can start an X session and run through another whole list.
I finally ask Joe and he tells me: jfe. It's Joe's Favorite Editor!
And it has an interface unlike anything i've ever even heard of with
no onscreen hints or documentation 'cause, after all, Joe knows how it
works. It's even worse if i'm temporarily helping a company with their
network 'cause the previous admin cared for his job security BOHF style,
and the only editor he installed is his custom version of TECO[1] that
he's ported to every system he's used since the PDP-10[2]. OK, i admit,
i'm getting carried away, but i think you get my point :)

So why original vi instead of vim? Because i don't actually expect
anyone to use the editor in the book on a regular basis. They'll
install their own, perhaps even before rebooting, maybe using a Hint
or BLFS page. And if they're not going to use it, why not install
the lightest thing out there?

Seth W. Klein
[1]: http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/jargon/html/entry/TECO.html
[2]: http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/jargon/html/entry/PDP-10.html
sk at sethwklein.net                             http://www.sethwklein.net/
Maintainer, LFS FAQ                 http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/faq/
Life on the edge is nothing.  I live hanging from my safty harness rope.
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