Chapter 6. Editing Text Files with JOE and Vim


Mastering a text editor is an important skill for anyone who wants to be a happy, proficient Linux user. Choosing one can get interesting, as the Linux world is overfull of ASCII text editors. There are two reasons for the proliferation of text editors:creating a text editor is a good, and common, project for newbie programmers; and a text editor is a rather personal tool. Linux gurus often write or alter them to suit their own personal whims . . . er, requirements.

Linux users love to engage in flamewars over text editors (especially Emacs versus Vim), which are fun, but pointless. The idea is to find one that suits your needs and temperament. The beauty of Linux, and free/open source software in general, is the wealth of choices for users. There is something for everybody, including entertaining flamewars.

In this chapter we’ll look at using JOE, Joe’s Own Editor, and Vim, which is a descendant of vi. Why not Emacs? Emacs is a wonderful program; it’s big, complex, and endlessly customizable and extensible. It is not a mere text editor; it’s more of a complete integrated environment. With Emacs, users can read mail and Usenet posts, write programs, play games, fuss endlessly over custom macros and key bindings, cobble up windowed environments when X Windows is not available, and consult their psychiatrists (M-x doctor). Emacs will do nearly anything you want it to, if you can figure out how. For someone who simply wants to ...

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