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A Practical Guide to Red Hat® Linux® 8 by Mark G. Sobell

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History

Before vi was developed, the standard UNIX system editor was ed (available on your Red Hat system), a line-oriented editor that made it difficult to see the context of your editing. Next came ex,[1] a superset of ed. The most notable advantage that ex has over ed is a display-editing facility that allows you to work with a full screen of text instead of just a line. While using ex, you can bring up the display-editing facility by giving a vi (Visual mode) command. People used the display-editing facility of ex so extensively that the developers of ex made it possible to start the editor with the display-editing facility already running, without having to start ex and give the vi command. Appropriately, they named the program vi. You can ...

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