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Re: default editors

bruce <bruce@beagle.pixar.com> writes:

> I suggest that Debian support a symbolic link "/usr/bin/editor", which
> is the default editor for all programs. Which editor that points to is
> set up by the install scripts in response to a prompt, and can be
> easily modified by the system admin at any time.

The $EDITOR variable is quite adequately supported by most software and
there is absolutely no need to put in a symlink for "editor".
Especially since beginners should know what editor they are in (the one
they type in on the command line or have in their $EDITOR variable).

> On the topic of default editors, having a single default, one that is
> good for _beginners_ is a good idea, but beyond that why does anyone
> care about the default? I take for granted that any decent application
> would honor the value of my $EDITOR variable.

ed/ex/vi are the only editors which should be considered default on a
UNIX system.  /bin/ed is for emergencies and /usr/bin/ex and /usr/bin/vi
are for non-emergencies.

I also retrieved the new vi (`nvi') from BSD 4.4 and compiled it under
Linux.  It works much nicer than elvis, but it is entirely unsuited for
a boot/root disk since it is something like 300k in size.

> For those beginners, one of the "arrow keys move around, delete key
> deletes the character under the cursor, typing is inserted to the
> right of the cursor" editors would be best. Is that what "pico" is?

More or less.  However, it has a number of Emacs-ish key bindings (C-n,
C-p, C-a, C-e, and so forth) that make it tolerable for people like me.

Pico shouldn't be default, but it should be say, "recommended" for
systems with beginner users.  BTW, `pico' comes with PINE (probably the
best mail system for beginners).


Daniel Quinlan  <quinlan@spectrum.cs.bucknell.edu>

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