mintCast 171 – Emacs vs Vi


The Main Topic: Emacs vs VI

Website (3 for 1 bonus):

  • Avdi Grimm’s blog – Avdi Grimm, a Ruby programmer, has written a series of blog posts about emacs.

  • The True programmers editor – Why vi: The programmers’ true editor “… you have to be completely insane and out of your senses should you ever use any editor on Unix systems other than vi and emacs.” from “Ramblings of an unfettered mind”

  • xkcd – The final word on “real programmers”

Podcast Announcements:

  • You don’t want to miss our Euro-centric live podcast, coming on August 18th at 15:00 EDT, 19:00 UTC.

More Information:

Hosts: Rob, Scott, James
Live Stream (Mondays at 8:00 p.m. Eastern):
Contact Us:

More Linux Mint info: website, blog, forums, community

Podcast Entry and exit music provided by Mark Blasco ( The podcast?s bumpers were provided by Oscar.


8 thoughts on “mintCast 171 – Emacs vs Vi

  1. Shows TOC:

    First 10:30 minutes we learn “inxi -S” is a bash script and the announcers are sed challenged.

    Next 12 discovers there are indeed viruses on linux and even a new one from russia for purchase.

    Next 9 about M$ stupidity and tablets being useful for consumers but not real people.

    Next 8 about fundraising.

    Next 17 minutes to say vi is very powerful, great for typists, available everywhere, steep learning curve but you learn the whole thing by the end. [How totally wrong the announcer is on this topic is epically mind boggling.]

    Next 18 minutes the other announcer notes there is lots of documentation and tutorials for emacs. The entire bundle being 38MB. Input completion. Outline mode. Incremental search. greps of various sorts, ispell. built in calculator. vim emulator. shell. sql mode. multiple windows. moving between. wiki mode. calendar and diary built in. todo lists. packages for extensibility, even repositories. control keys and meta keys. emac pinky. compile cycle on emacs and popups to buy flowers for your girlfriend. Then says GUI editors are the same as emacs or vim! ok…..! [There’s not much difference between emacs and vim except that a subset of vim is available on all linux boxes. The vim packages and repositories which never got covered make them about equal. A good start would be to look at to see some of the thousands of packages.]

    Next 4:30 minutes both announcers talk about GUIs vs editors. [GUIs are great to begin with but power users merge the tools into vim/emacs and become much more productive than possible from within GUIs. As Steve Jobs used to say, when a person becomes proficient they become the equivalent of about 100 people who never take the time to become great.]

    Rest of show reading listener input.

  2. I use vi(m) for one reason and one reason only. It’s not because it’s my favorite, compared to Emacs, Nano, etc. It’s because it is the first editor I learned after purchasing Mark Sobell’s A Practical Guide to Linux Commands, Editors and Shell Programming (2nd Edition). Moreover, although Mark covers vim and emacs, vim is covered first, so… there you go.

    Actually, at this point (about 3 years later), I don’t have the emotional energy to learn emacs or another editor; simply too much time invested in leaning & using vim. I feel the same about screen vs. tmux. I think there are lots of Linux/Unix users who fall into the same boat.

    P.S. Why do you use a pillow … probably because your momma gave you one.

    I always enjoy the show.

    Running Kali Linux, Bodhi Linux, & Ubuntu Server 12.04.

  3. One complaint of vim was: you cannot move the cursor around while in insert mode. You can. I guess it isn’t configured to do that by default (on Mint). Probably the following vim (system-wide) config line wasn’t uncommented:

    ” Use Vim settings, rather than Vi settings (much better!).
    set nocompatible

  4. An interesting show, thanks. I was brought up on the BBC Acorn Model B and the Archimedes EDIT program where there was a little file editing to produce printer macros and such. Then, I was introduced to Microsoft 386 and the EDLIN text editor – painful! I could not get my head around Vi. After that it was a parallel progress with Windows up to Win7 and Linux ending up with Linux Mint. Through out that time, I preferred the GUI approach so I use GEDIT or the current desktop equivalent. It works for me.

  5. About inxi
    On my mintbox running Mint 15 Cinnamon, inxi must be updated to newest version to show the right Desktop. Simply run inxi -U as root. After that inxi -S will show the right Desktop.
    pc1 bin # inxi -S | grep Desktop | awk -F: ‘{print $2}’ | awk ‘{print $2″ “$3}’
    will show Cinnamon 1.8.8

    – Bengt Bolinder
    Copenhagen, DK

  6. Ubuntu Edge Campaign Ends, Fails to Reach $32m Target

    Did we all really think it was going to succeed!. Canonical does’nt
    have the desktop market clout like Apple or Microsoft. This was a
    joke!!!. Asking your users to pony up the money!. Really! For a product
    that Apple and Android dominate. We really need another phone Mark!!. A
    better campain would be to get Adobe, and other proprietary developers
    to natively port their apps to Ubuntu!. Or we could have taken that
    money and given it to developers to develop high end photography and
    video apps for Linux users. An area where Linux still sucks in!!!!. Big
    time!!!!!!!. And don’t even mention Wine!!

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