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I was bored last week so I installed FreeBSD 5.4-RELEASE on my test harddrive. I went ahead and installed the regular x86 version rather than the AMD64 version because of ...
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  1. #1
    Linux Guru techieMoe's Avatar
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    Vi-ing for attention


    I was bored last week so I installed FreeBSD 5.4-RELEASE on my test harddrive. I went ahead and installed the regular x86 version rather than the AMD64 version because of issues I've had in the past with it. I must admit, being the overall geek and OS junkie that I am FreeBSD is giving me the same kind of "newness thrill" that Linux did a long time ago, complete with the "I don't know what the crap I'm doing" downer that comes after the thrill.

    One consequence of my installing FreeBSD (and being absolutely determined this time to get everything working to my liking) was the necessity to learn how to use the VI text editor. I don't want to start another flamewar about VI vs Emacs vs Pico, so just hear me out here. I've personally never been a fan of vi, but I've been told (truthfully it turns out) that on a system that has no other text editors to speak of, they'll almost always have vi.

    Most of my dislike from vi quite honestly came from it just being completely different from what I was used to, therefore I was afraid of it (much like BSD). Thus I was a bit intimidated when I found that my newly installed FreeBSD operating system only had Vi installed.

    It took some man page reading and LOTS of practice to get the commands under my fingers, but I think now I'm starting to get the hang of it, at least to the point I got the hang of driving a 5-speed automobile, which means if I'm ever stuck in a life-or-death situation and need to use VI or drive a stick, I can do it. That doesn't mean I necessarily will ever CHOOSE to drive a stick or use vi, but I can.

    I'm trying to do everything in vi for at least a few weeks just to give it a chance to sink in. Perhaps one day I'll be comfortable enough with it to not choose something like Pico, Nano or Emacs to edit text files or source code. For now, vi and FreeBSD are giving me something to work on as a hobby, and that's really the whole purpose of this experiment.

    If anyone cared to read any of that, thanks. If not, feel free to give me forty lashes with a wet noodle and send me on my way. No wait. Don't do that. Hey, it's the Coffee Lounge, right? I could think of worse topics to kill time.
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  2. #2
    Linux Guru lakerdonald's Avatar
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    I've always felt the same way about vi. However, during an OpenBSD install, I didn't install some of the right package sets, so I didn't even have vi installed.
    I had 'ed' as the only editor on the system...That taught me to appreciate modern text editors.
    I've always wanted to sit down and give vi a go, maybe I should one of these days.

  3. #3
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    vi reminds me of the old "edlin" command in DOS (and for those of you that admit THAT, you're REALLY showing your age! ). Once you get the hang of it, it's very usable, but the newer editors are so much nicer.
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    Interesting thoughts, Techiemoe... You've got my interest in BSD perked!

    Also, I prefer VI and stick.

    Jeremy
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  5. #5
    oz
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    Re: Vi-ing for attention

    Quote Originally Posted by techieMoe
    I'm trying to do everything in vi for at least a few weeks just to give it a chance to sink in. Perhaps one day I'll be comfortable enough with it to not choose something like Pico, Nano or Emacs to edit text files or source code.
    Yeah, I used to hate vi/m too, but one time I was doing an install of some exotic linux distro (don't remember which one) and needed to edit some files, and the only editor available was vi. Not knowing how it worked, I had to restart the install after doing some quick vi lessons.

    After that, I decided to always remove all the easier editors from my linux installs so I'd be forced to learn vi. It was a good move that has paid off many times. Now, I think vi is totally cool, and vim is even better.

  6. #6
    Linux Guru techieMoe's Avatar
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    Re: Vi-ing for attention

    Quote Originally Posted by Ozar
    Now, I think vi is totally cool, and vim is even better.
    You bring up an interesting question. What is different in vim versus vi? I seem to remember "vim" standing for "VI-improved", but what was improved?
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    SCO
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    Vi Is terrible in FreeBSD, this might be weird, but I noticed all keys to different commands were not the same as I was used to. I really don't know why, but that's what it was like. I use Pico and Nano, they both rule, and are easy to use.

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    I think your success in learning a complicated tool depends very much
    on having the right instruction.I tried to learn vi in the past but I found
    the experience frustrating mainly because the options mentioned in
    some book I was reading from did not agree with how the computer behaved.
    The online help , although very detailed wasn't very useful, partly
    because I found it itself hard to navigate ! So I gave it up.But a couple
    of weeks back I obtained a copy of "Learning the vi editor, 6th edition"
    and this time it all seems very easy.After reading the first 2 chapters and
    part of the 3rd I was able to do some non trivial edits and I found
    it pleasant and straightforward.Sometimes it was going a bit slow but then
    I'm only new to it.I still don't know how to do everything I want
    with it but I expect this will come soon.I certainly plan on using it exclusively.

    For a long time I've wanted to become an expert in one of the advanced editors
    and now it seems I'm on my way.I've chosen vi over emacs for 3 reasons:

    1) The manual is shorter.
    2) You can write scripts for vim with some of the "common" scripting
    languages like Perl or Python instead of emacs lisp.
    3) It makes less demands on the system which might be quite important if
    the system is not yet working in an ideal manner.

    Perhaps one day I will aim to also learn (x)emacs well but for the time
    being I'll stick with vi(m).

  9. #9
    Linux Guru lakerdonald's Avatar
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    Sometimes I just want notepad.exe, and that's when I use nano

  10. #10
    Linux Guru techieMoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lakerdonald
    Sometimes I just want notepad.exe, and that's when I use nano
    True. For very simple text tweaking I almost always use pico or nano. I figure learning one more editor couldn't hurt though.
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