[sclug] Vim Query

Roland Turner SCLUG raz.fpyht.bet.hx at raz.cx
Sat May 27 17:22:09 UTC 2006

On Sat, 2006-05-27 at 17:20 +0100, Alex Butcher wrote:
> On Sat, 27 May 2006, Glyn wrote:

> > The impression I have formed from various sources on the web is that
> > learning Vim is a steep curve but well worth the climb
> Beyond learning enough to repair essential files, I haven't found that to be
> the case in the last fourteen years. Editors are a highly personal thing
> (probably due to the amount of time a UNIX admin/programmer spends
> interacting with them) and so people end up with very entrenched positions
> and defend and evangelise their choices quite vocally at times. Ultimately,
> though, the choice of editor usually comes down to a historical accident,
> and one text editor is largely interchangeable with another (I might allow
> some leeway for emacs here, though :-)

Ah but then, EMACS is something more than an editor :-)

I'm inclined to agree though. I'm a heavy [n]vi user (and have no truck
with this 'vim' pretender), and it was through a historical accident. I
can't say that I'd advise others to use it (or not to). Pick a
reasonably capable editor and master it; you're going to spend a lot of
time with it.

What kind of historical 'accident' causes me to _like_ vi? Well, when I
were a lud ... we had terminals (real ones, not emulators) connected in
some cases by 300 baud (that's 300 _bits_ per second) modem to a
line-buffered seral concentrator (which means that it buffers your
keystrokes until it sees a newline and then sends the entire line to the
host in one operation), so vi's fancy 'visual' mode was completely
unworkable (and would have been too slow to use even if it were not for
the line buffering), so I mastered 'ex' and its real regular expressions
(I still cringe when I hear Perl expressions referred to as regular;
they're _not_ regular damnit!). When I later had character-at-a-time
access with adequate bandwidth, the switch to vi's fancy 'visual' mode
was a huge upgrade. Having mastered ex/vi's arcana, other editors feel a
little blunt. I imagine that those who have mastered other editors have
a similar feeling when they switch.

- Raz

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