Category Archives: Vi Editor

From Vi Editor to Vi Improved (VIM)

True that Dennis Richie invented the C language but there need to be an editor to do the language editing.
That was called ex in dumb terminals of Unix in black and white.
Then it had to evolve into Vi the visual editor and later to Vi Improved.
As I know it by my gut feeling Vi (Cholesterol free)is very light as compared to VIM which is loaded with cholesterol.
ViM is in MiBs but Vi has to be in KBs but I could not find the exact amount after 3 days of searching.
In fact I posted a question on Linux Question Organization and waiting for a reply from some old gentleman (I am not young by any imagination) out there browsing the web at leisure.
I feel some urge to document them in a book since once cloud computing comes into being things might be different and history may be submerged in clouds and not in sea water of tsunami.
Below is some of my current findings.
As far as computer language and it writing is concerned, I prefer a graphic output.
If I compare a computer language and its final output product to needle, threads and a cloth we finally wear for our adornment.
Analogy goes like this.
Computer language is like the thread. Threads can be woven into a cloth and stitches that hold them together.
Programming editor is like the needle.
We do not need to know the how the threads are made of except  for the fact from cotton, nylon or mixture of them or water-resistant mackintosh.
But we need to know their colours so that the pattern can be distinguished.
Similarly we need know that needle is made of steel and won’t corrode.
Visual editor was a need and without the needle we won’t be able to stitch in time.
Vi Editor

The original code for vi was written by Bill Joy in 1976, as the visual mode for a line editor called ex that Joy had written with Chuck Haley. Bill Joy’s ex 1.1 was released as part of the first BSD Unix release in March, 1978. It was not until version 2.0 of ex, released as part of Second Berkeley Software Distribution in May, 1979 that the editor was installed under the name vi (which took users straight into ex’s visual mode), and the name by which it is known today.
Vi is a modal editor:
It operates in either insert mode (where typed text becomes part of the document) or normal mode (where keystrokes are interpreted as commands that control the edit session).
For example, typing i while in normal mode switches the editor to insert mode, but typing i again at this point places an “i” character in the document.
From insert mode, pressing the escape key switches the editor back to normal mode.
A perceived advantage of vi’s separation of text entry and command modes is that both text editing and command operations can be performed without requiring the removal of the user’s hands from the home row.
As non-modal editors usually have to reserve all keys with letters and symbols for the printing of characters, any special commands for actions other than adding text to the buffer must be assigned to keys which do not produce characters, such as function keys, or combinations of modifier keys such as Ctrl, and Alt with regular keys.
Vi has the advantage that most ordinary keys are connected to some kind of command for positioning, altering text, searching and so forth, either singly or in key combinations.
The name vi is derived from the shortest unambiguous abbreviation for the command visual in ex.
Probably this is a “Tim Thompson’s statement” fished out from the web.
STEVIE is perhaps my most noteworthy contribution to the Open Source movement, even though the phrase Open Source didn’t exist way back in June of 1987 when I posted my little clone of the ‘vi’ editor to Usenet.
STEVIE stood for,
ST Editor for VI Enthusiasts
Although it was only a subset of real ‘vi’, it had a good implementation of the ‘u’ (undo) and ‘.’ (repeat) commands. Here are the two parts of the original posting of STEVIE:
My implementation was usable and good enough for Tony Andrews to take and continue hacking on. A year later in June of 1988, Tony posted this 4-part version of STEVIE to Usenet:
Since that time, the software has continuously evolved in the fine tradition of what we now call Open Source, to produce the widely available and widely ported editor now known as VIM.
I was not involved after my initial development and posting to Usenet, and I didn’t really keep track of it after a few years. (I was actually a bit disappointed when the ‘u’ndo capability was broken by subsequent development, and was not fixed.)
When I recently discovered that VIM is the great-great-great-great-…-grandson of STEVIE, I was quite surprised and of course very pleased to know that my initial seed was so fruitful.
And I was most pleased to see that they fixed the ‘u’ndo command and even made it capable of ‘infinite undo’.
Vim Editor
Vim is a text editor written in 1988 by Bram Moolenaar for the Amiga computer, but first released publicly in 1991. It was based on an earlier editor, Stevie, for the Atari ST, created by Tim Thompson, Tony Andrews and G.R. (Fred) Walter.
The name “Vim” is an acronym for “Vi IMproved” because Vim is an extended version of the vi editor, with many additional features designed to be helpful in editing program source code.
Originally, the acronym stood for “Vi IMitation”, but that was changed with the release of Vim 2.0 in December 1993.
Vim is an almost compatible version of the UNIX editor Vi. Many new features have been added: multi level undo, syntax highlighting, command line history, on-line help, file name completion, block operations, folding, Unicode support, etc.
This package contains a version of vim compiled with a rather standard set of features. This package does not provide a GUI version of Vim. See the other vim packages if you need more (or less).
Repository: Debian Main
Download size: 894,29 KB
Installed size: 1,74 MB
Package filename: vim_7.3.333-1_i386.deb
Source package: vim