Are you using vim or emacs or something else?

I actually never pulled through learning emacs or vim, one needs to be quite persistent.

I started reading Harley Hahn’s emacs field guide.

Are you using the one or the other, or something totally else!? Why? Any good advice or reading material you can recommend?

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Having used both - and avoiding both ever since - here is a perspective:

vim = esoteric and quite capable editor, that may be all there is on a Unix-like system. Worth knowing a few commands - like (W)rite changes and (Q)uit!

emacs = almost a full DE in many ways - an emacs guru will rarely leave the environment. Also a bit esoteric :grin:

I find that knowing OF them is all that is required these days…


:sweat_smile: I use mostly nano to edit config files


To save and quit. Recently discovered ctrl+w to search, I am very basic what concerns text editors.

Most of my coding is in latex studio to edit my latex docs, jupyter notebooks for python, Rstudio for writing gitbooks, so many nice programs out there.

Couple of months into trying i3wm, just wondering if that makes learning emacs redundant, got all programs a keybinding away.

However, am still curious about the vim and emacs.


IF you decide to learn emacs, be prepared to lose some time! Just about anything you can imagine needing to do can be done (fancy column tricks, macro programming etc) - but your memory needs to be ready! (not the computer’s!).

As far as nano goes, I prefer micro ( easier and prettier) - but pretty basic - but it sounds like you have enough edtiors on he go as it is…

Oh - and a final note - emacs tends to have a choice of implementations too, all slightly different. Just to complicate things a bit more.


In my commercial career with Unixes, Vi was what you could always assume was available. So…it’s what I learned.


I use Vim, but not very often. My text editor of choice is Kate. I find it to be as feature rich as Vim, but I am more productive in it.

I’ve never tried Emacs, mostly because of the fact I am disgusted by the syntax of Lisp.


I’m practicing kakoune. If I just want something quick I use micro.

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I was very happy to find I can use xed, even with sudo commands. Otherwise I use nano. I never bothered to learn Vim or emacs and found an impartial way out of the fight was to ignore them both. In the early days I did use vi but only because nothing else was installed.


I am a vi user. Or vim / neovim for that matter.

I started with emacs many, many years ago. But at some point in time, also many, many years ago, I found out that vi is really cool. And I abandoned emacs.

vi is doing all I need. Incl. search & replace.
It is doing it fast. The startup times of the vi tools are unmatched.
The footprint is really small. The vim package is less than 2 MB. The emacs package is almost 60 MB.

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Back in the day, at least 20 years ago, I was writing code in an obscure language that had basically no support from its creator company, no IDE, no debugger. There was one 3rd-party editor at least supplying syntax highlighting. My company had a license, but they used the license very liberally. New developers needed to set their system date back before installing because the license allowed installations only years back.

I was fed up with this idea, didn’t like the bugginess of the editor, so I went and looked for alternatives. As I was already dabbling in Linux on my personal machine, I chose to try to get vim up to snuff, define a syntax highlighting file, create macros to support development, navigation functions. So one day I deinstalled the 3rd party editor, installed gvim on Windows and kept my head down.

It took me more than 5 months, but finally I had everything in place. I had understood the philosophy of vim, had a large .vimrc file having lots of customisations for the language. I could navigate very fast, had a full syntax highlighting file, I was missing no function that the 3rd party editor had.

Since then, I am a vim fan. It works for me and is available everywhere.


I use nano as a text editor.

I have been some variant of vi for many years now. It is efficient and awesome but utterly non-intuitive.

My advice is don’t waste your time learning vi or emacs in 2021 unless you don’t have access to graphical session a high percentage of the time. Otherwise, install micro and use that for terminal editing and use a modern editor for editing files graphically. Personally, I use kate and vscodium depending on the use case. However, that is just personal preference. There are lots of great editors out there.

The exception would be if you need to do a lot a work with remote servers. In that specific case, learn vi over emacs because it isn’t likely emacs will be installed.


So I might be better served learning a coding language, looks like most posts here say its not worth the time to learn the emacs ecosystem or similar. Although heard a lot of good things about vim.

This seems an easy resource to learn basic vim

I just use vs-code (code in pacman - apparently vs-codium variant) as it is pretty configurable and adjustable, as well as being on most systems I would use. I even have ‘conkyscript’ syntax highlighting, along with lua bindings thanks to others’ hard work.

Vi is the answer if you remote into other systems, or for work - otherwise I wouldn’t (and haven’t) bothered since early days…


When I was learning, I used something like this:

Vim (or rather Neovim) is my choice. I have tried to get into emacs several times and always found myself jumping to Vim when I needed to do something quickly. It doesn’t take long to learn Vim and you never need worry about knowing it perfectly. Most of us, I think, learn a little more gradually. I prefer Neovim because copy/paste from the clipboard works better. In Vim, when I paste a number of lines they are indented badly.

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I use micro
it has a bit more features than nano, but nowhere near the amount of vim and emacs…

I find it handy that when I’m finished writing a piece of code from my handbook, i can just press meta+b and run the make command, and execute the code from there, without ever leaving the editor

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Tbh I use Kate, but I really love to edit things in nano. It just kind of makes me happy, the simplicity. I still reach for notepad when I’m on Windows - hahah!

Personally, I think micro is so superior to nano, it should be the default in every distro. It is simple and intuitive to use for anyone who has used text editor on any other platform.

On the other hand, nano grew to popularity because it was easier to learn than emacs or vi. These days, there are much better options than nano though. Also, I am not sure that nano is all the much easier to learn than vi. If it wasn’t for the key bindings at the bottom of the screen it would be almost as obtuse as vi.