Alternative Editors (was Re: Debian vim weirdness)

Alex Esplin alex.esplin at
Sun Feb 26 16:41:50 MST 2006

On 2/25/06, Ross Werner <ross at> wrote:
> 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. :)

Just to pop in my tuppence, I started to learn emacs when I was in
ECEN/CS 124 because that was the supposed "editor of choice" for the
ECEN department.  I was a little bit frustrated with all the
"control-whatever" because I felt like my pinkies were turning into
disfigured claws.  Then I took another look at vim/gvim (which I
didn't like at all in CS 142 because I didn't know that it was
supposed to be different than the editors in jpad/jcreator and
notepad) and spent about 30 minutes going through the little vim
tutorial.  At that time I found that even though I only knew a half
dozen commands (mostly just the ones to move around in the document) I
was every bit as productive as I had been with notepad.  Then,
everytime I felt like there was a faster way of doing something I
wanted to do, I looked it up in my notes from Hans Fugal's vim
presentation (these include macros, marks, folding, and other such
things).  I would say now that I probaby know a dozen-ish commands
(maybe 20 plus or minus) and I'm quite comfortable with vim/gvim.

Alex Esplin

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