Favorite text editor?

Forum: Programming and Scripting
Topic: Favorite text editor?
started by: nickelplated

Posted by nickelplated on Aug. 19 2005,07:49
What command-line editor do you prefer?
Posted by adssse on Aug. 19 2005,13:39
When I first started our Proffessor started us off on Nano or Pico, but I now preffer vim.
Posted by Your Fuzzy God on Aug. 19 2005,18:18
Go orange!
Go grapefruit!
Go nano!

Posted by SaidinUnleashed on Aug. 19 2005,23:57
Vim, all the way.


emacs makes a computer slow
eight megabytes and constantly swapping
emacs makes authors commit suicide
emacs makes all code segfault
emacs manuals are confusing sh*t
evil monkies are creating scripts


Posted by news.observer on Aug. 20 2005,04:21
In the 80's I thought that my vi skills would be dated and useless in a few years. I was wrong! (Why, I can remember when vi wasn't around, there was just ed and then ex!) :laugh:
Posted by cmanb on Jan. 25 2006,18:48
I feel like people who really dig DSL would be more into smaller, more specialized software.  Meaning Vim.

And, with the exception of Zile, I haven't really seen any EMACS extensions at all!

Posted by cbagger01 on Jan. 26 2006,05:45
For simple context highlighted console text editing,
mcedit (the editor that comes with the fullsize Midnight Commander)  is excellent.

I seem to remember that once upon a time I thought emacs was great, but then I completely forgot how to use it :)

eve is another nice editor if you learn to use it.

But for the DSL base iso, I use nano for console text editing because it has almost no learning curve, great for simple edits when in runlevel 2.

Posted by Grim on Jan. 26 2006,07:59
< Linux Mag then asked >: "So you didn't really write vi in one weekend like everybody says?"

No. It took a long time. It was really hard to do because you've got to remember that I was trying to make it usable over a 300 baud modem. That's also the reason you have all these funny commands. It just barely worked to use a screen editor over a modem. It was just barely fast enough. A 1200 baud modem was an upgrade. 1200 baud now is pretty slow.

9600 baud is faster than you can read. 1200 baud is way slower. So the editor was optimized so that you could edit and feel productive when it was painting slower than you could think. Now that computers are so much faster than you can think, nobody understands this anymore.

The people doing Emacs were sitting in labs at MIT with what were essentially fibre-channel links to the host, in contemporary terms. They were working on a PDP-10, which was a huge machine by comparison, with infinitely fast screens.

So they could have funny commands with the screen shimmering and all that, and meanwhile, I'm sitting at home in sort of World War II surplus housing at Berkeley with a modem and a terminal that can just barely get the cursor off the bottom line.

It was a world that is now extinct. People don't know that vi was written for a world that doesn't exist anymore - unless you decide to get a satellite phone and use it to connect to the Net at 2400 baud, in which case you'll realize that the Net is not usable at 2400 baud. It used to be perfectly usable at 1200 baud. But these days you can't use the Web at 2400 baud because the ads are 24KB.

I still use vim over dial-up if I need to jot something down when I'm visiting my folks as they still use dial-up.  Vim over dial-up via ssh connection is pretty damn fast, but then again, emacs probably is too, only emacs frightens me. ;)

Posted by doobit on Feb. 02 2006,13:41
I began in Linux on emacs, so I'm accustomed to it. The GNU creature doesn't scare me. I've used vim a little, and I'd have no problem figuring it out. I learned to program in MSDOS (and ProDOS, which nobody remembers anymore) with .bat files, so I guess I could learn vim.
Posted by mikshaw on Feb. 02 2006,16:59
My first distro had both emacs and vim installed, and I was using kate or gedit or some other gui editor.  Eventually realizing the necessity of a console editor, I looked at both emacs and vim and both were kinda scary.  I looked at the size of each and immediately removed emacs from my system. I went through the vim tutor and haven't used anything but vim since.
Posted by faroutscience on Feb. 03 2006,00:35
I was forced to learn vi during a c and unix course at UNF in the early 90s. I never would have tried it if I hadn't been forced. I now use it for most things. It is small quick and almost everywhere.

I use jed if I want something fancy. I keep trying to use emacs. I even have the manual from FSF. It's just a pain in the neck to remember all of the ctl-alt-esc etc. key sequences. I still use it from time to time especially emacspeak due to my low vision. xemacs is a little easier but then you get into the middle of a squabble much like that of g95.

And I do remember the old 300 baud days. I still have a Model 100 and an Intel 2400 baud modem! My old Compuserve account was: 70035,1412  

Does anyone remember TAPCIS?


Posted by cbagger01 on Feb. 03 2006,05:13
You could afford compuserve?!?!?

If I remember correctly, at one time it was something ridiculous like 8-12 bucks per HOUR of usage.

The only way I could ever play with compuserve and my TRS-80 Color Computer 2 and 300 baud modem was to convince the local Radio Shack sales guy to tell me the number and password for their DEMO account for that month.

Back then, the equation was:

junior high/high school kid + no job = no money

no money = no compuserve

Luckily, most of the nearby BBSes were free, and also within my local (not long distance) calling area.

How about a big shout out for


The BBS-based national e-mail network that required each BBS owner to call up the BBS owner in the next County and transfer a few messages back and forth at 3AM in the morning.

You could send an e-mail from the east coast to Texas in 7 days or so, which was around the same speed as snail mail.

I gotta thank those BBS owners who paid the bills for such a system.  A 2nd phone line and the long distance charges plus a decent home computer and AUTO-ANSWER modem back then was a big expense.

Posted by humpty on Feb. 03 2006,06:01
vim - cos it's the only decent one there. Is it only me that thinks Beaver should be replaced? ???
Posted by adssse on Feb. 09 2006,20:13
I use vim for most things. I enjoy getting down and dirty in the terminal alot of times instead of using a gui editor.

I actually like beaver. It does what I need and is pretty lightweight compared to some others.

Posted by _pathos on Feb. 28 2006,09:52
vim ftw.

beaver is great. I learnt linux with dsl and without beaver I wouldn't be here. You need the gui's for the noobs.

Posted by WDef on Mar. 08 2006,13:20
At first, I thought commandline editors were anachronisms from the green screen days, good only for geek points.

But once I started playing around with linux and the console in particular, it became apparent just how quick vim could be to make that tweak to a config file.

And you only really ever seem to need to know just a few vim commands for that purpose (although I soemtimes edit scripts with it as well): insert, replace, delete line, search, save and quit, quit without saving.

The only annoyance is getting on a system which is perverse enough to only have vi instead of vim, and finding that backspace or something doesn't work.

Posted by safesys on Mar. 30 2006,16:17
Having used pico for the past 5 or so years, nano gets my vote hands down.

Not all that keen on beaver - especially the way it handles seach and the way you can't cursor up on a wordwrapped line (unless I'm missing something config wise).  I used to use notetab lite under windows which nailed it for how I like to work with gui text editors.

Posted by 300c_pilot on May 02 2006,04:05
When I have to use a cmd line editor nano or pico are my choices, never learned vim or vi.

cbagger01, I did not think anyone would remember compuserve. Expensive and for me long distance took all night to download a simple picture, got to like xkermit.

The old days, that were really not that long ago!

Posted by kerry on May 02 2006,11:16
I'm just stupid when it comes to vim, i've tried it but still can't figure out how to use it. I'll just stick with nano.
Posted by alvez on May 02 2006,12:08
I've always found that joe suits my needs best.  Every once in a while I try to use vim, but I always end up disliking it more than the time before.
Posted by anaconda on May 02 2006,12:22
I like JED. Works like emacs, but is smaller and faster.

I have tried VI several times, but just dont seem to get the hang of it.. If I have to I can edit with vi, but really rather not.

Posted by jot on May 20 2006,00:25
I prefer vim. It gives me anything that I would expect from a text editor and more :) By the way, have You tried to do a 'find text' in Beaver, is this so slow only on my computer or is it common ?

Has anyone tried to compile vim 6.4 with vimshell ??

< vimshell >

I'm planning to to compile it myself.
It is like vim-'window manager' , can't wait to use it.

And if there only was elinks.dsl...  , yes I know there is links and glinks, but none of them has URI rewriting. I just like to type 'g' 'g' 'keyword'  to find something on google, and I can have multiple shortcuts like the one above.
Like 'g' 'dsl' to go to DSL home page :)

And... sorry for the off-topic :)

Posted by mikshaw on May 20 2006,03:00
you could make a bash function or script to launch links with a google search:
EDIT: scratch that...i posted a snippet before testing it...

Posted by jot on May 21 2006,15:14
Dear mikshaw,

that's not the functionality that I want.
In my opinion one of the greatest features of elinks that make it better than links2, glinks and links-hacked is that you can browse internet like this:

1. open elinks
2. press 'g' to get url box
3. type 'g keyword' in url box to start google search ( just an example, it can be anything you want)
4. press 'g' again and type 'dsl' to go to DSL Homepage
5. press 'g' and type 'fm' to go to freshmeat
6. and so on

You can set many shortcuts like the ones above, they can be set to get you to a site or can accept additional parameter, to create personalised search engines. You can get the same feature in Firefox ( i guess ) and in Opera 9. It's like 'search box' in address bar but IMHO it's better because you have faster access to many search engines and don't have to select different one each time you use 'search box' .

OK, this is getting too long even for an off-topic I guess :)

I've read that in links-hacked you can get similiar functionality with 'links lua' but can't get it to work :(

PS. And of course I still prefer vim.

Posted by doodle77 on June 12 2006,00:06
If you're going to be in the command line you dont need anything more than nano
Posted by newby on July 19 2006,05:53
My favorite of all time is Useful Editor, part of the Useful Utilities.

Written in assembler by a consumate code hacker.

I just wish he would port it from DOS to *nix.

Posted by Zucca on July 19 2006,05:58

Gui editors:
1# jEdit
2# Nedit

Posted by humpty on July 24 2006,20:35
Nedit as of now! :laugh:
Posted by newby on July 25 2006,15:02
Quote (Grim @ Jan. 26 2006,02:59)
< Linux Mag then asked >: "So you didn't really write vi in one weekend like everybody says?"

No. It took a long time. ... So the editor was optimized so that you could edit and feel productive when it was painting slower than you could think. Now that computers are so much faster than you can think, nobody understands this anymore.... People don't know that vi was written for a world that doesn't exist anymore - unless you decide to get a satellite phone and use it to connect to the Net at 2400 baud

Thanks for the insight.  Thanks also to the other poster for the fond memories of FidoNet.

Emails would be a lot shorter these days if everyone had to start on FidoNet!

Posted by Felson on Feb. 17 2007,00:43
not a popular answer, but I am emacs all the way. Proably because that is what I started with. But I actualy like the insane key strikes you can do. yes, they are nuts, but they can save hours of work.
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