Better text editor?

The more I see and hear about Kate, the more I like her.


Regarding the use of Kate, it does bring with it a number of libraries; if you are already using Kate with the KDE “K Desktop Environment”, it doesn’t further increase the resource or library requirements to a significant degree, but it does make the most sense if you are already using KDE. It’s not the only editor capable of the features that we have been discussing here, but it is well integrated with other apps in the Plasma - KDE space.

As far as “bloat” goes, it only qualifies in the ongoing “jokes” about bloat; otherwise it’s a very well designed, well integrated tool that not only works well in every day use cases, I think it has a lot more capabilities that are not often fully seen, except by those who constantly use it and go looking for features and capabilities; it rarely fails to deliver for those who analyze, read, try, and experiment with the outer boundaries of what it can do.

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Yup - the bloat thing is not to be taken seriously by those who use KDE (which actually is fairly decent on resources now) - but it sure is appropriate to consider it so when you’re on something else (like XFCE). If you know of another editor that matches up to Kate, but DOESN’T sink the ship with dependencies, please let me know. I don’t want to always default to VsCode - and I miss my ‘good’ editor from the Amiga… (one I actually paid for, which wasn’t a given for Amiga use - which had a plethora of good ones for free in the tradition of free software that evolved into Linux)…

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Not yet. I have Gnome presently, but will transition to KDE over time. Are there any issues installing Kate on Gnome?


Note the dependency tree in an earlier post. I wasn’t really kidding when I called it bloat IF you aren’t on KDE!

Yeah, but it’s temporary as I plan to do a clean install to KDE anyway, just not now. Thanks for caring @freebird54 about my bloat.

Given my previous thread Bloat or Normal? I am preparing for the worst.

So I will give it a try as Kate has piqued my curiosity.


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My package count went from 1122 packages to 1133 and now I have Kate. It didn’t pull in all those KDE deps as I expected. Yipeee!

After reboot and leaving Gnome intact, I now have 1580 packages, bloated and loving it!

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I just did and will go through the many customizations.


It’s possible you already have something from the KDE stable and so installing Kate only boosted your count by 11.

On a clean i3 EOS (no KDE/qt stuff), installing Kate (and the default dependencies) would raise the package count by 56.

(Why a reboot should cause the package count to rise to 1580 from 1133 is puzzling.)

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Is there a text editor that:

  • is a CLI
  • would behave more or less like Micro, so amodal with shortcuts I suppose ?
  • can render markdown well (not just by coloring the syntax) as we write, perhaps showing the tags only in the current paragraph ?
  • if possible not in java python or ruby, but that’s a minor requirement.

It would be my ideal editor.

I just snagged micro and put it in my ~/bin directory on one of my distributions. It is indeed CLI based, at least as easy as Nano, fast, and simple. I didn’t really investigate a lot as far as any “advanced” or fancy capabilities. It’s advantages appear to be that it is very simple, fast, with a few common keystrokes to cut, copy, paste, quit, save, exit, and get help, with not much more. For those looking for something like that, it is just the right tool. For those expecting a lot of features, I’d suggest you look elsewhere. Nevertheless, very nice, simple, FAST text editor!

Just a note here - nano can do that for you without a change being needed (and more commonly found, too) - as long as you make entries in its config file. The more commonly used keybinding (as for save quit cut paste insert etc) can easily be configured, as can syntax highlighting. That said, micro is a neat piece too!

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Relevant link:

I really should get my ‘links’ listing updated again - it’s shamefully neglected! Thanks for the link - and I’ll try to start providing them again soon (RSN).

You’d think I would know better after all my years as a ‘answer service’ on Ubuntu from '06 to '16…

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yes perfect for my use, except it doesn’t render markdown, stylistic highlighting just won’t cut it. Especially not with pictures…

Thank you; those are helpful customization tips.
Both nano and micro are good for simple, fast, light editing; I’ll have to try them one after another to check feel and response, but based on prior use, they are probably similar, but if I had to guess, micro is even lighter than nano.

There is, however, a little-known vi variation called levee; it’s got to be right up there with nano and micro in small memory footprint. Last time I tried it, I found it to be #1 out of every editor I tried for “smallest memory usage” on startup; it’s a minimal, simplistic vi style editor. No frills at all; try out levee if you can find it.

It’s in the AUR, so not hard to find for those interested…

Good to know; it is also available in Debian repositories, so for those who want a super minimal, vi-like editor with zero frills, levee is light on resources, probably a similar image size to “micro” that we’ve been discussing today.

Summary of recent comments: nano, micro, and levee are very lightweight, fast, simple editors for those who either have resource constraints on old hardware or just prefer super light tools.

Kate is a very well behaved editor in the KDE-Plasma family that has advanced features, including the ability to run it with “vi-like” key bindings.

I don’t seem to have very many peers who appreciate it like I do, but GNU Emacs is a super powerful editor; it ALSO has the ability to be set up to handle modal, vi-style editing. In the “old days” Emacs consumed a lot of system resources; even old desktops and laptops 10-15 years old can run Emacs today. It is also VERY portable because only the core engine is written in C; the rest of Emacs is written in Emacs Lisp and over the years it has had numerous capabilities added; it is “almost” an application engine in itself; can be an editor, a news feed engine, Email processor, Web page reader, can colorize and organize keywords, balance parentheses and a lot more. To learn it all would be a challenge, but it has added usability features over the years and can be used like most GUI-based editors these days, and do a lot more, including escape to a shell or even host a shell environment.

Freely available software is so rich in tools, these are but a very small sample of what is available. We don’t have to all prefer the same tools; there are plenty of them to handle our needs and preferences.

Well said - but I am still left without the toolset I want! Oh well - maybe if I run the Amiga Emulator I can get it somehow :grin: There is something especially appealing about having the features - and NOT carrying around unnecessary stuff to any degree. Of course, asking anyone to write a significant application in assembly these days is going to be laughed at! Back when, even my favourite desktop publisher was entirely in assembler - but then again it was 680x0 assembler, which was always much easier than anything intel-based could muster…

@freebird54 - there is almost certainly a tool similar to what you are looking for. Maybe there is even an Amiga Emulator still out there somewhere, but that’s not been something that I have looked at or sought in my editor experiments.

I’m still a relative “newbie” to the EndeavourOS community, so I’ve not looked into the depth of what we have available, whereas I have ~20+ years of experience using Debian based software, ~27+ years using Linux software and about 40 years of experience with the combination of UNIX and Linux software, most of which has been with a LOT of freely available software, not just the commercial stuff that automatically comes with a commercial system or a distribution.

I say this to mention that I believe that I HAVE seen emulators for several pretty old architectures, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there is still an Amiga Emulator out there; I have no idea if it would still work on current generation software, but if it is well written, I’d imagine that the design could be ported, recoded, or even updated to work today. Have you looked into that possibility for your own needs and interests?

While it’s not something I want or need myself, I do have an interest in seeing people locate, find, and use all kinds of fascinating tools, so if you do decide to pursue that long time interest once again, I’d love to hear about your experiences! Best wishes in your favorite toolset and toolchest endeavours!

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