Earlier this month Linux Magazine carried an op-ed titled "The End of the Editor Wars," (more discussion) discussing the age old argument of vi vs Emacs, or really vim vs Emacs these days.
I've been using Linux and Unix for at least a couple of decades and it's an argument I've never understood, because both editors are total garbage, but especially vi. There are so many alternative, better editors to choose from.
If we only talk about the editor wars in the sense of vi(m) vs Emacs then certainly vi has won, and I think there's some fairly straight forward reasons for that:
- vi comes on everything remotely POSIX or Unix compliant
- Some people pride themselves on the overly complex nature of vi(m) over other editors, you can even find people swearing that vi(m) with tons of weird extras is superior to a full IDE such as PhpStorm or Visual Studio. I guess this can be true in the same way that hang-gliding is faster than super sonic air travel. In short, and I say this with the up most level of offence: these people are liars, morons, or delusional. There's no way it can possibly be true.
- Emacs, in my experience, was always more bigger with people more apt to use Lisp, and nobody but supervirgins and beardos use Lisp. ((((know(((what((((((()()))))I((((((((((((mean?
The entire vi vs Emacs argument is really like two slow kids jumping off the short bus, then proceeding to beat the hell out of each other in the Waffle House parking lot over the who is the heavy weight champion of the world.
One may win, but they're both still retarded.
There are tons of editors which do way better at everything in comparison, to either, but especially to vi, as vi does everything in the worst way possible.
In other words yes, vi won, but they're both still crap.
Even today distros like Ubuntu override things like visudo to load into nano, *not* into vi. I think this is wonderful and I pray for a day an easy editor replaces it completely, maybe even easy editor from the BSD universe, that works fine too.
Vi comes from a time when there were limited keys on a keyboard, and instead of using escape and control to manage the program (used in a limited way, escape especially in that it brings up command mode), they devised a brutally complex and illogical system for editing which persists to this day, it is truly for the masochistic and pretentious.
Knowing the basics of vi in that knowing how to do basic editing and also how to escape+qw! or wq is important if you're a sysadmin, but unnecessary for everyone else, and as soon as you can install any other text editor, you should, and most people do.
I understand personal preference exists, but it says a lot about someone's personality in that they'd honestly say vim is better than a real IDE on X and they can work "faster" with it. That can only be an absolute lie or a delusion on a David Berkowitz level. The dog is barking at the vi masochists and it's saying "hold on to a turd and call it gold, after all, you'll gain +100 nerd points in the valley."