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Re: Do we really care how many floppies are in the base?

CD Rasmussen <cdr@sme.siemens.com> said:

> Here is another vote for vi in the base set.  On a well populated
> system, Isn't ed used only for scripting and couldn't ex do the same
> thing?  Do we need ed at all except for completeness?
> (I'm now open to be flame-broiled) 

I think we include ed because it's traditional.  However, I think
it's normally located as /bin/ed to provide an editor with only
the root filesystem mounted, and we place it in /usr/bin.  I've
occasionally used both ed and ex for editing in unusual circumstances,
and have even more occasionally used each of them in scripts.

I think we should decide what our requirements are before we decide
what to do about them.  My take on our requirements is as follows:

1.  An editor in a newly installed debian system.
2.  Installed in /bin, so it's available in case of mount problems.
3.  Small, to minimize install disk and root filesystem size impact.
4.  Easy to use by a novice who has never seen it before and who has
    no access to documentation on it.

Now, looking at the editors in the distribution, I see:

package       editor               size       easy?
-------       ------               ----       -----
ed            ed                  69636         no
ee.deb        ee                  79792       very
elv-vi        vi,ex,view,input   106500         no
emacs         emacs               large         no
joe           joe,jmacs,jstar,   172032         ??
nvi           vi                 357555         no
pico          pico               122207        yes
vim           vi                 307200         no

I see only two "easy" editors, and they've got the the second and
fourth smallest executablies. ee is just slightly larger than
ed, and pico is nearly twice as large.  Both meet the ease of use
requirement, I think.  Pico has an advantage not reflected in
the stated requirements, i'd say, in that it's the standard
editor for the pine(1) mailer.  I'd say it's a question of whether
that's worth an additional 45K on the install disks.

It seems to me that we should eliminate ed from the base system, pick
either ee or pico, and put it in /usr/bin on the install disks.

Another option might be to look for an even smaller easy editor.
I recall a tiny full screen editor named ae which might qualify,
but would have to look at it again to be sure and check the copyright
status.  I could probably do that tonight.

I'd say that it's an open question whether ed should be moved from
/usr/bin to /bin for the sake of tradition.  I lean towards not
doing that.

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