Alternative Editors (was Re: Debian vim weirdness)

Ross Werner ross at
Sat Feb 25 23:21:06 MST 2006

On Fri, 24 Feb 2006 23:48:02 -0700, Levi Pearson <levi at> wrote:

> You know, as passionate as people tend to be about vim and emacs, if  
> you're not looking to invest a lot of time and effort learning a complex  
> editor, sometimes simpler alternatives are better.

I'd also recommend going with something simple if you're just editing a  
few text files here and there. Out of curiousity, what's wrong with nano  
for this purpose?

If you do want something more robust, as far as emacs vs. vi, here's my  
two cents:

Emacs tends to have the "kitchen sink" philosophy, and as such has  
considerably more plugins and features than are available for vim. Vim on  
the other hand is smaller and more standard of an install across distros.

I find that vi is faster if you're not typing most of the time--i.e. if  
you spend most of your time in a text file searching, replacing, changing  
text, or doing repetitive tasks, vi will be your best bet.

Also, emacs tends to be easier starting out but harder to learn in the end  
because it doesn't force you to so much like vi does. You can get by in  
emacs knowing only a dozen commands with no problems, and then learn  
others as curiosity drives you to it. With vi, you'll be severely  
uncomfortable knowing only a dozen commands, and that will force you up  
that learning curve. Whether this is a bug or a feature is left up to the  
imagination of the reader. :)

	~ Ross

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