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Vim Turns 20 271

Posted by samzenpus
from the they-grow-up-so-fast dept.
quanticle writes "20 years ago today, Bram Moolenaar released vim to the public. From the article:'The Vim text editor was first released to the public on November 2, 1991—exactly 20 years ago today. Although it was originally designed as a vi clone for the Amiga, it was soon ported to other platforms and eventually grew to become the most popular vi-compatible text editor. It is still actively developed and widely used across several operating systems.' Share your vim stories and your tales of battles with emacs users."
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Vim Turns 20

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  • It is more mature. It was initially released in 1976, and is still being actively developed, too. :-P
  • Why? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Why would they mention the argument with emacs? That was settled years ago.

  • by Culture20 (968837) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @06:03PM (#37926392)
    Congratulations!
  • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @06:04PM (#37926410) Journal

    I like and use gvim all the time.

    My main beef with it (solved by recompiling) is with fonts. I like the old fashioned font called "fixed". It derives from the ancient, non-scalable standard bitmapped font which came with X. It also happens to be very readable and to my eyes looks much sharper than the anti-aliased fonts. There are also excellent UTF-8 versions available too.

    For some reason, this is almost impossible to get if one has gvim compiled as most distros do it (using gtk or gnome). Not only that but the fonts seem to change on the slightest whim of an update from the package manager.

    The solution seems to be to recompile it with Athena or Motif support.

    I must say, however that if Athena is the solution, then you really have problems :(

    • by jbolden (176878)

      Awesome Vim story. Mods mod up please this one should be the lead.

      And I agree with you on Athena. As an aside it looks like the latest macports no longer has the athena option though it still has motif.

  • ... but it didn't work.

    Emacs controls all its ex's.
  • by suso (153703) * on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @06:06PM (#37926424) Homepage Journal

    I use vim, my wife uses emacs. We sleep in the same bed, unless she is swapping.

    • by blair1q (305137)

      If you're using the same sized RAM she could easily be swapping and you, who wouldn't be, would be oblivious to it.

    • by shish (588640)

      I use vim, my wife uses emacs.

      This does not gel well with my previously held dogma that whenever a vim user and an emacs user are in the same room, the emacs user will have the significantly larger beard D:

  • In Linux camp i lost my ":" key
  • by SpaghettiPattern (609814) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @06:06PM (#37926434)
    Daily user thanks Bram. Vim is my hammer, my screwdriver and my wrench. I use it on almost every Unix-Like system I work on.

    Although I'd be able to kick the gong around using a simple Vi, I find several Vim features making me much more productive. History and colours do it for me.
    • History and colours do it for me

      And:

      visual (including block) highlight, working arrow keys, delete going off the end of the line and back onto the one before.

      • by blair1q (305137)

        Yup. Column editing is the killer app that vi never had.

        Cscope integration is a close second through fifth.

        • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @07:02PM (#37927230) Journal

          Yup. Column editing is the killer app that vi never had.

          Don't forget undo trees. It's a feature I use maybe once every few months, but those times I'm REALLY glad I had it.

          If you don't already know, it fixes the problem where you undo some changes, make a new change, then can't redo the changes you undid. In vim, you can go back in time to retrieve the previous state. It's like having micro version control for every edit.

    • by ls -la (937805)

      I use it on almost every Unix-Like system I work on.

      Almost? What kind of a vim user are you!?

    • by EricWright (16803)

      I use it on every system I work on... It's my standard editor on Windows XP (gvim anyway), Cygwin under WXP, Solaris, and Mac OSX. I don't use linux often any more, but it was my default editor then as well.

      I've had co-workers laugh at me when I'm at the keyboard using an IDE and start typing jjjjjjjjjjjj.

    • by mattack2 (1165421)

      I find several Vim features making me much more productive.

      I admit I only know a couple of basic vi commands, and a couple more vim commands on top of it (and I use vim as my alpine editor, and often my source code editor -- unless I'm doing a MAJOR multi-file find/replace type thing, then I do it in a GUI editor)..

      vim additions I use:
      gq to reformat text (e.g. fix quoted text in email replies)
      visual selection (someone else mentioned this -- v then you can yank [copy] or x [delete] the visually selected tex

  • I would just like to state that all editors are created equal.

    :wq
  • ...the most popular vi-compatible text editor.

    Justin Timberlake is the most popular member of 'N Sync. Ha, I'm just C-y your chain.

    • ...the most popular vi-compatible text editor.

      Isn't vi the most popular vi-compatible editor??

      I'm a regular daily vi user. This vim thing must be something new.

  • by theswade (2020510) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @06:15PM (#37926570) Journal
    i[ENTER] Happy Birthday, vim!!! [ESC]:wq![ENTER]
  • Honestly, both are excellent text editors. I, like most programmers, use the one that was favored at my university. Not because it was necessarily better, but because lots of other people used it and helped me get over the learning curve. I still use VIM today on every operating system I use or am forced to use.

    At the end of the day, the text editor I use has to be something I use so well that I am not thinking about the text editor - I am thinking about the text I want to edit.

    Can't we all just get along?

    • by ls -la (937805)

      Honestly, both are excellent text editors. I, like most programmers, use the one that was favored at my university. Not because it was necessarily better, but because lots of other people used it and helped me get over the learning curve. I still use VIM today on every operating system I use or am forced to use.

      Interesting. At my school, emacs was the editor of choice, and I still ended up using vim.

  • by blair1q (305137)

    I like Vim.

    But why isn't it the default editor in this edit box?

    • Well, It's All Text! [mozilla.org].

      • Someone mod parent up. I discovered this earlier today and it's made me very happy.

        You just have to make sure that wherever you want to use it is a textarea (eg: disable rich formatting in a mail client)

    • give focus to a text box/area and hit CTRL+t to go into command mode. A lot of vi commands are supported, but CTRL+i opens the contents of the text area in VIM just in case :D.

      Pentadactyl is much more than this. It allows you to fully navigate and control your browser using keyboard only in very natural vim-esque way. It has extensive help. Just type :h topic. It has completion for most things including ex commands etc.

      It's one of the reason why I love and use Firefox.
    • by SEE (7681)

      Because ed is the standard text editor.

  • I like how the article is titled "Two decades of productivity" and the picture is of vim opened from a shell launched within vim. No shots of nicely formatted and highlighted code. Just a shot of the kind of crap you try to do when you're bored.

    [Unintentional] Hilarity

  • by nimbius (983462) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @06:19PM (#37926626) Homepage
    if ugandan kids use VIM too?
    • by drosboro (1046516)

      I have it on second-hand authority that, while the kids at Kibaale Children Centre don't regularly use vim, they at least don't use emacs either... :)

  • by Darren Hiebert (626456) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @06:22PM (#37926658) Homepage
    I am pleased to say that I was the one who first added Vim to the Sunsite Linux archive back in 1993. I had transferred to a company which did its development on Windows (yuk) and went looking for a vi-clone which I could use on it. I came across Vim and found it to be very solid, but with some bugs to fix. I regularly emailed Bram on these issues and he was very responsive to my reports and suggestions on how to improve its tag support (vis-a-vis ctags). Back then, the newly-available Linux archive only had the vi-clone Elvis, which wasn't nearly as good. So, thinking that I had discovered a gem, I uploaded Vim to the Sunsite Linux archive and eventually it got picked up for use as the resident vi editor by each of the Linux distributors.

    In 1996, I developed Exuberant Ctags as a better ctags. Bram started including it in his Vim distributions and our programs were paired together in much the same was that Elvis was packaged with its own ctags clone, and Emacs was packaged with its own ctags. Eventually, Exuberant Ctags became large enough that it caused the Vim distribution to become too large to fit on a 5.25-inch floppy and Bram said it was time to let them grow separately. Exuberant Ctags, as well, got picked up by the Linux distributors as the resident ctags program.

    I have always enjoyed working with Bram over the years and wish I could have met him. He is a very pleasant and easy person to work with, very accommodating, and very bright. I think very highly of him and I am glad to see his editor become one of the bulwarks of Linux distributions, as well as used on many other platforms.

    Darren Hiebert

    • by ShakaUVM (157947)

      I worked on a patch for VIM ~2001 for combining searches with code folding. You could search for a term, tap zf or whatever the shortcut was, and it would fold away all lines that didn't match that code, with an adjustable number of context lines around it.

      I found it very very useful for code refactoring, but Bran didn't want to include it in the main release. So I just had it up for years as an optional patch for people to compile in.

    • by PylonHead (61401)

      emailed Bram on these issues and he was very responsive to my reports

      When vim 6 was in testing I ran into a small problem with one of the release candidates. Something minor that probably only affected me and a small set of other users. I emailed bugs@vim.org, and in less than 24 hours I got a personal response from Bram who told me he had replicated it and thanked me for my example. It was fixed in the next candidate.

      I would be pleased with that kind of responsiveness from a commercial software vender.

    • I just want to thank you for exuberant ctags. I use it daily in conjunction with VIM and can't imagine exploring and navigating large code base without these two :D.
    • by illtud (115152)

      ?I am pleased to say that I was the one who first added Vim to the Sunsite Linux archive back in 1993.

      Since nobody else seems to have done so, can I send you very warm thanks? My skin still crawls when I'm on a system and I get:

      vim: command not found ...and have to resort to 'vi'. Can I also send you karma for mentioning Sunsite, which nobody much on ./ seems to have has any recollection of nowardays, which was particularly galling the in the Sun (ghod rest their bones) bashing days of the 200?s.

  • Vim is the only editor I'll use. Well when I'm working in MS products such as Visual Studio I have to use ViEmu. Which works great since I have VIM inside VS. Love the fact that people are now emulating Vim. Love the that I can edit a 6M log file with no significant impact on the system and still have full search capability. Thanks Bram, I owe you days of saved time over the years.
  • I occasionally have to use vim to edit the Makefile for emacs.

  • by jmcbain (1233044) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @06:46PM (#37927000)

    Next to gcc, vim is the greatest open-source project ever created. I've used vim every day of my life since discovering it back in 1996 as a replacement for basic 'vi' on a Sun Sparcstation. I'm currently using vim to write software on my MacBook Pro in a terminal window.

    I started off learning vi on a DEC workstation back in the early 1990s while trying to keep my head above water as a freshman CS major. Since then, I've used vim inside of Visual Studio (with a plugin), inside of Eclipse (with a plugin), as the editor for the mutt mail client, and in a hundred other contexts.

    Vim is excellent software.

  • by kermyt (99494) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @06:48PM (#37927036) Homepage
    I use Emacs as an IRC client, an RPN calculator, a mini text browser, for browsing usenet, and I even play a couple of games in it... but when I edit text I use vim.
  • I love gVim (use it everyday at work) but god, some of it _still_ sucks.

    - Can't map Ctrl-1, ... Ctrl-0 to custom mappings
    - Can't distinguish between Ctrl-Char, Ctrl-Shift-Char, and Ctrl-Alt-Shift-Char
    - Can't distinguish between TAB and CTRL-I
    - Can't (re)map CAPS (I use CAPS in my games, remapping it to ESC is NOT an option)
    - no way to "unbind" ALL keys

    WHY is it so hard to find an editor that lets me use ALL the keys??

    Vim would be perfect if it fixed the custom keybindings.

  • Elvis [vi-editor.org] knock vim into a cocked hat!

    No garish colour schemes or any of that nonsense.

    Which would you rather use: an editor named after a Rock Star or one named after a brand of toilet scourer? I rest my case.

    • No garish colour schemes or any of that nonsense.

      huh? Wasn't elvis the first vi clone to do syntax colouring?

      • by turgid (580780)

        huh? Wasn't elvis the first vi clone to do syntax colouring?

        Out of the box, on Slackware, the C keywords, pre-processor directives and macros are bold black and everything else is black. The background is white. This is the correct behaviour for a syntax-highlighting editor.

        • This is the correct behaviour for a syntax-highlighting editor.

          Why? It seems that to the non-colour blind among us, on colour terminals colouring offers a greater range of visual hints than fonts (and unerlining) does.

          • by cp.tar (871488)

            I am (partially) colorblind. And I prefer colored output.
            When you open a quote and vim colors everything after it bright pink or whatever, it is really really easy to notice you haven’t closed it.

    • by cp.tar (871488)

      Since many text files, not least XML ones, are pretty much toilet-worthy, I would prefer a toilet scourer than a rock star that died on a toilet.

  • Vimscript. Ewww. I know it takes backward compatibility seriously, but what I'd give for PCRE and syntax highlighting that didn't suck my netbook's CPU dry...

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